Typically after a rain storm, the beavers begin rebuilding their dams within one week to one month after being damaged. This winter though, the beavers didn’t get to begin rebuilding until early June 2023. But the stronger current from this winters rains wasn’t the only obstacle preventing the beavers from rebuilding this year.
As mentioned in an earlier post, and in the SLO Tribune on August 5th, 2023, off roaders have been driving in the Salinas River since their unofficial trails alongside the Salinas River were buried under debris after this winter’s floods. The SLO Beaver Brigade cleared out two of these pre-flooded trails to encourage the off-road vehicles to go around the beaver habitat.
It’s been a tough go for the beavers during this time, as the off-roaders repeatedly ignored the taped off areas and drove over the signs and the fresh starts of beaver activity. Day after day, we would witness fresh beaver building activity, and day after day they would be destroyed.
The only thing encouraging us to continue replacing these signs, day after day, month after month, was the beaver activity happening behind them. It didn’t matter how early in the morning we arrived at the pond, the freshest activity out there was always the beaver signs: fresh drag marks of tree branches crossing the dry river bed and fresh beaver tracks. That is what kept us, and keeps us, heading out there to check on the state of their dams.
We are happy to report, after months of off-roaders driving over beaver habitat and signs, they have finally begun using the side trails around the river. And the beavers have noticed! One beaver family that has been trying since June to rebuild their pond has finally, as of the week of Sept 15th been successful.
Right now, all 3 families of beavers in Atascadero have built at least one dam each, allowing them protection from predators as they harvest willows, cottonwood branches and other plant material for their food. 3 times as much water retention, fire break potential and water filtration is happening.