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Best Urban Wildlife Phenomenon 

The Beaver Family in Alhambra Creek

Forget New York's rats and the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. Martinez has beavers running in the streets. Almost literally. In the seat of Contra Costa County, government employees, drunk-tank refugees, disgruntled jurors, and old-time "Martizians" wander the downtown streets by day. Although businesses are mostly shuttered after 5 p.m., it's only then you can catch a glimpse of the beaver family that's made its home in Alhambra Creek, which runs through the center of the town where Joe DiMaggio was born. When the city council announced it would be killing the beavers to help alleviate a preexisting flood threat their dam made worse, a candlelight vigil was held on the behalf of the beloved semiaquatic rodents, and amnesty was their reward. The city has now sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into beaver-related maintenance, and the beaver brood is, somewhat laughably, Martinez's main tourist attraction. The family has a dedicated blog, advocacy group, Wikipedia page, and many YouTube videos. Catch a glimpse of the playful nocturnal critters in person at dusk, when they leave their lodge and splash about in the creek.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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