Once upon a time, lo these many months ago, the SF waterboard decided to help Martinez with some tree planting for beavers. It invited me out to present in December and got so inspired about beavers it decided to share its Watershed Stewards Program Interns from Americorp to help.
(Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.)
So Corie and Rebecca came out for a meeting with Worth A Dam and the city engineer, then obtained a permit to take willow cuttings from wildcat canyon, then came to Martinez for a day of planting. Cheryl, Lory and Jon showed up for a day of hard work at the end of March. Is this ringing any bells?
So they spent a day planting and Jon spent the evening wrapping trees and the beavers gazed wistfully at the forbidden fruit like children eyeing their presents under the tree, and life was good. The planting was even on channel 7 news.
Then guess what? Funny story. (Not really).
Public works got a divine inspiration (or a phone call from you-know-who) and ripped every planted stake out. They piled them to one side by the road. Jon just happened to notice as he drove by. I called the engineer in a panic to ask WTF and he called the foot soldiers who had done the dirty work and by evening these poor stakes were all back in the ground. No kidding. Shades of Alice in Wonderland painting the roses red. Some of the trees were upside down, some barely planted, all looking the worse for wear.
It suppose it goes without saying that they all died.
Well, the SF Waterboard was not very happy with that. And our good friend Ann Riley swore that we would REPEAT the planting next year, this time before thanksgiving, when they’d get more water, using the help of their next intern. And these trees had better not get pulled up.
But in the meantime our beavers died or scattered to the four winds and the city launched its grand bank destabilization project, which Riley was super not happy about either, so she negotiated with the engineer that our replanting should happen exactly there, where they had pulled out all the other living things.
The new intern’s name is Brenden Martin. And he and Riley are coming friday with some helpers to replant. This time they are going to use willow cuttings from here. Meanwhile, oddly enough the film crew from Middlechild productions will be out from the UK and filming it for the part of their documentary about how cities can live with beavers. Then heading to Napa to follow up with some beaver footage.
Rusty Cohn has boldly volunteered to come help Jon and Lory with the effort, and Ron will kindly take some photos for us. Oliver Smith, the assistant producer i’ve been chatting with, is probably interviewing Lara or Mark as well as interviewing me that day. The crew arrives SFO tueday night and supposedly the gang is staying at the John Muir Lodge.
Honestly, two months ago I was feeling like if we didn’t have beavers we should cancel the planting and let the city be responsible for their own damn trees. But Jon persuaded me to be patient and now I feel differently. Besides it’s working out well for Urban Beavers everywhere, and that makes me happy. I ask myself, if I were a beaver living in exile and saw a bunch of tasty morsels planted in my absence, wouldn’t I think about coming home?
I certainly would.