Martinez beavers history retold in online nature journal

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The story of how a family of beavers made an impression on residents and how one woman became a champion of the animals is being told in an online nature journal by the woman who now heads “Worth a Dam,” the advocacy group that also organizes the annual Beaver Festival.

Heidi Perryman said she never expected to be involved with beaver preservation. But when a family built a dam in Alhambra Creek not far from Main Street where many residents and business people stop by the local Starbucks coffee shop, she became curious about them.

A stranger’s commentary got her more intrigued. She began filming them and watching their antics. She heard their voices.

Then some business people and property owners feared the dam was a threat, especially in an area that floods. Since the animals legally couldn’t be relocated, they faced a dire fate Perryman wasn’t willing to let happen.

She has written about how Martinez residents spoke up and acted on the side of the beavers, and it’s been printed in The Center for Humans and Nature’s website under the title, “Is Your City Smarter Than a Beaver?”

Perryman said she knows Steve Dunsky of the forest service in Vallejo, and met the online publication’s editor at a conference. After hearing the story about Martinez and its beavers, the editor asked Perryman to use the online magazine to share it with others.

She describes how the beavers split the town until Skip Lisle was hired to come in from Vermont and install his “Beaver Deceiver” flow device at the dam, and how a rally for beavers developed into a full-fledged festival that welcomes a variety of nature-oriented organizations and activities.

“In the end, Martinez learned a very simple lesson: When we helped the beavers, they helped us,” Perryman wrote.

Perryman said what has been learned here is getting shared with people in other communities. “We worked with beaver issues in Rodeo, Napa, Sonoma” and other California cities. “Right now (I’m) working with someone who wants to save beavers in her town in Texas,” she said.

“Honestly, I thought we would have solved our problem and moved on much earlier and easier!” Perryman said about the early reactions to the beavers. “I had no idea it would have such resonance and meaning for the nation and the world. I’m happy what Martinez learned can help other cities.”

Those interested may read the article through this link:

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