New Signs Near Napa Creek Celebrate Napa’s Urban Beavers | Local News

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Those who regularly cross the Napa Creek footbridge from Clinton Street to Coombs Street in downtown Napa may not be aware of the beavers that live below.

The thick-furred water mammals are nocturnal, after all, and tend to chew on wood and build dams when people aren’t around to watch them. They haven’t been in the downtown Napa area that long either, though their growing presence around the city of Napa in recent years has often been heralded as a sign of environmental success tied to millions spent on projects. flood control. the last decades.

Now, three new signs near the bridge provide information about beavers and make it clear that beavers are an important — and positive — part of Napa’s ecosystem. Facts about beavers are spread over two panels, one includes historical background and the other – dedicated to “beaver life” – contains sections on beaver dams and beaver family life.

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According to one of the signs, American beaver populations were once scattered throughout the American West, including Napa. Beaver dams have created wetlands – a source of extraordinary biodiversity – but much wetland habitat has been lost when beavers have been trapped by humans over the past three centuries. Today, beaver populations are rebounding.

The project came about through work on a community project that grew out of Leadership Napa Valley – a local leadership development program. Those responsible for the signs, members of Leadership Napa Valley Class 34, unveiled them in a May 7 ceremony at Heritage Park. The signs were conceptualized and designed by an LNV group known as the “Phenomenal Phour”, with input from the Napa Flood Control and Water Conservation District. Funding to fabricate and install the signs was provided by the Napa Resource Conservation District and Napa Recycling and Waste Services, according to a news release.

“I see people walking across the footbridge over the creek every day who have no idea what’s going on in the creek below,” LNV Class 34 member Katie Anderson said in a statement. Press. “I love that we’re giving locals and visitors context on why this is so important.”

Approximately 50 community members showed up for the event, including LNV Group members, LNV Program Director Jill Techel, Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht, Napa RCD President Bruce Barge, Director of the Flood Control District Richard Thomasser and Napa Mayor Scott Sedgley.

No beaver showed up for the ceremony, although a mascot beaver was present.

Techel, the former mayor of Napa, noted at the ceremony that she and Wagenknecht have long been involved in the Napa flood control project, and she was excited about the beaver signs because they represent a visual way to show that the environment was included in the flood. project.

Wagenknect said at the event that the presence of the beavers made people, including himself, excited about the environmental work they were able to do on the flood project.

“I mean, look at this,” Wagenknecht said at the event. “It’s not an LA river flood project, it’s trees, it’s widening, it’s adding access, it’s so much more, and now we’re telling the story.”

Sedgley read a proclamation at the ceremony recognizing the history of beavers in the Napa River and the environmental successes of the flood control project. The proclamation states that beavers are a ‘keystone’ species – as well as ‘true people of Napa’ – and their presence in the Napa River and its tributaries has brought back hawks, mink, river otters, ducks and salmon.

“The idea was just to recognize the health of the river, the ecosystem and how the flooding project helped restore some of what was once buried under asphalt and buildings,” Sedgley said in an interview. “I grew up in Napa and can’t remember playing in the river and all the creeks where there were beavers since the 1960s. So they’re definitely a new addition to the river.

You can reach Edward Booth at 707-256-2213.

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