The beaver is back | November 4, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 4, 2022

The beaver is back

Pair of the semiaquatic rodents spotted in Palo Alto

by Sue Dremann

More than 160 years ago, the sight and sound of beavers in local creeks was likely common, splashing their paddle-like tails with their brown bodies gliding through the water with noses just above the water line.

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Posted by Samuel Jackson
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 9:42 am

Samuel Jackson is a registered user.

Welcome, beavers!

Just remember you need zoning approval and to survive a gauntlet of anti development advocates before you can construct your new beaver dams. It's not that your neighbors don't want you here it's just a concern that it may not comport with traditional community character, after all. I'm sure council and others will be very expeditious in their permit review. Good luck!

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:16 am

Bystander is a registered user.

As wonderful as these creatures are, they can become a nuisance. It is wrong to say that their dams get washed away by winter storms. They do bring debris into waterways that would otherwise not get there and that debris can dam up the waterway. Even if they do get destroyed by heavy rainstorms, that debris gets washed further downstream and then if a bridge or other impediment hinders its onward passage, another dam can occur which is not beavermade and this can cause flooding.

I was hiking in Tahoe a few years ago and many of the trails were impassable because of debris caused by dams that were either built by the beavers or downstream accumulations of debris.

Posted by Joe Pesotz
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 6, 2022 at 9:09 am

Joe Pesotz is a registered user.

The beaver won't flood anything as they don't build dams in deep water as correctly stated in the article about lower Matadero Creek. In deep water they use bank burrows with underwater entrances. It is unlikely they will move upstream to shallower waters in Matadero or Adobe Creeks as both are exposed concrete trapezoidal channels until you get south of El Camino Real. When they recolonize lower San Francisquito Creek they finally may move upstream as it is natural with riparian vegetative cover and without concrete. Only in the shallow headwaters our our Peninsular streams would they be likely to build dams to create deeper pools where they are protected.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2022 at 11:17 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

We have a beaver family at our summer place (on a river). They have taken out two small trees, but we replaced the trees. The fun of watching their activity is well worth that effort. We do have a lot of salmon and steelhead trout that area. It never occurred to me that beaver and fish helped each other--though that makes perfect sense. We have several families of bald eagles there, as well. The eagles hunt for salmon in our backyard. Waaaay cool! Nature is amazing...and wonderfully entertaining.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2022 at 5:08 pm

Scottie Zimmerman is a registered user.

If you get a chance, watch "Leave It to Beavers," an episode of the Nature series on PBS. It first showed in Season 32 as episode 17. It is not currently available, but all the great Nature shows come and go, through cycles that PBS devises. The show says what other commenters here have said, that beavers work miracles bringing water & wildlife to previously barren places. During the winter, they accommodate an odd assortment of neighbors in their cozy underwater dens, including rats, snakes, and others. Beavers are a great American resource!

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