Continuing the “Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley” year long quest.
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Thar’s beaver in that thar valley! so the pioneer mountain men used to say. Yes, there are wild beaver right downtown San Jose, the “Capital of Silicon Valley”. First discovered in March 2013 by Roger Castillo, who I wrote about in Twentyfour: Roger, Let’s Soar, the downtown San Jose area is now locally called Beavertown.
The beaver is the largest rodent in North America and the second or third largest rodent in the world. Castor Canadensis Subauratus, or the California Golden Beaver was last seen in this area 150 years ago. The beavers are believed toÂ have originated from the Lexington Reservoir above Los Gatos, where they wereÂ re-introduced in the early 1990s.
Turns out now they are all over the Guadalupe Watershed. Multiple families of beavers are living from Lexington Reservoir down to Alviso, which I painted in ThirtyThree: Sin City, This includes Los Gatos Creek painted in Twelve: With the Los Gatos Elves and Fourteen: The Los Gatos Stream; and the Guadalupe River painted in Two, Three: Woz Way, Six: The Downtown Sticks, and Twentyfour: Roger, Letâ€™s Soar. They have not yet built any dams as much of the habitat has deep enough pools for their purposes. However, during this drought, they are being watched as the water reaches low levels.
Last summer a beaver was seen injured from trash in the river which wrapped around itâ€™s body. It was captured, the trash removed, and returned to the wild.
Here are some pictures of the day. Click on the below thumbnails for larger pictures***
I did the painting where the first beaver sign was discovered, right downtown San Jose in Guadalupe Park, next to SAP Arena where all the big venues in the area are held. This area is also locally called the confluence, as it is where the Los Gatos Creek joins the Guadalupe River. The beaver sign was still there, although it looked like it had been awhile since there was any gnawing on the trees. Of course I didnâ€™t see any as they mainly come out at night. I did use a little artistic license and painted a beaver “V” in the water as if one was swimming by. I also indicated a downtown building in the background, and one of the concrete river channel walls.
***Email subscribers may not see all pictures. Just click on the title for a link to the online version.