TRUCKEE - Local animal rights activists are voicing optimism about the town's Trout Creek Restoration Project, hopeful its anticipated need for beaver relocation will be done without killing them.
Sherry Guzzi, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Wildlife Coalition- a Truckee-based wildlife preservation group - said a recent meeting with town engineers has given her group continued confidence the town will avoid beaver extermination during construction of the restoration project meant to realign and restore the creek.
"Truckee has been great," Guzzi said. "They were very good directing the engineers to work with us."
Both Guzzi and the BEAR League have worked together to ensure beaver protection as the project develops. In January, Guzzi and other SWC members attended the town council meeting where project's Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration was discussed, a document detailing the project.
Guzzi and fellow SWC members requested town council protect beavers during their possible relocation with devices dubbed "beaver deceivers" that would eliminate the need to kill the beavers by allowing water to pass through their dens - a solution she said would be far cheaper compared with the Department of Fish and Game permitting costs of trapping and killing the animals.
"The town council said they'd gotten a lot of letters about the beavers and so they added wording (into the Trout Creek Restoration Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration) saying they would not harm beavers during construction," Guzzi said.
In a recent follow-up interview, councilman Mark Brown said the town is committed to beaver preservation and will consider the deceivers upon recommendation from the town's engineers.
"I think we cleaned up the language in the understanding," Brown said. "(The beavers) are probably going to be moving during the construction phases, but certainly we want to keep them in the area and don't want to destroy them in any way."
BEAR League Director Ann Bryant said her organization already has begun fundraising efforts to implement the beaver deceivers.
Becky Bucar, Truckee's assistant engineer, has said that a June goal is set to begin part of the restoration project, much of which is located within the downtown area and is hoped to halt flooding and restore fishery habitats, riparian vegetation and wetlands to conditions before downtown development degraded them.