Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Did someone say you were throwing a party for me?


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You know how things sometimes happen when you least expect them? Well, yesterday we saw the city workers in Susanna street parking checking out something in the creek so we wondered what it was and went to have a look. We’d been noticing that the water seemed to be backing up a bit and meant to investigate but with the Festival and all we never got around to it. Guess what we saw yesterday? Go ahead, guess.

DSC_7705It is right in the bend in the creek and impossible to easily see either from the Susanna Street bridge or  from the Henrietta Street end. But if you climb on something tall and crane your neck around the corner you will see an overgrown incised stream with a tiny little dam being started. And some of the wood appears to have beaver chews on it. The beaver itself is obviously a little loner or a poor planner because if he had any friends at all he would take out that leaning tree and let it fall on the dam to get things started in a big way!

sbdam
Little dam behind Susanna street park: Susan Berg photo

The funny thing is someone at the festival said they saw a beaver the morning of the festival near Starbucks, but we chalked it up to the crazy things you hear from people that you shouldn’t get excited about. Now we wonder if it might have been true. Jon looked several times last night and saw no beaver, and Susan and her grandkids came down to check it out with no luck either. But who knows? It certainly is a beaver dam, whether the builder is still around remains to be seen. Here’s a little map if you want to do your own snooping.

And in case you wondered, it’s about a block from my house, which is just neat.

block

Susan and her granddaughters originally came to get journal making supplies because they missed the festival because of a family reunion. I asked them to earn their journals by recording the audio for the film I might make about the project. If you want to hear bright cheerful girls talking about how beavers benefit the ecosystem, take a listen to these three minutes. They gave me lots to work with so hopefully I will be able to clip it together and make some great  audio for the film.

Meanwhile, I was working on this yesterday form the idea Steve Murschel from West Linn Oregon gave me about playing ‘pin the beaver on the keystone‘ with children at our forest service event next month. I’m thinking it will be a nice way to teach kids about the idea of a keystone species and how beavers help the ecosystem. What do you think?

keystone poster