News from Watsonville Wetlands Watch
Business Outreach Hosts Special Tour
Photo: Larissa Mueller/Santa Cruz Sentinel
After months of planning by the Business Outreach Committee, WWW hosted a special event, including a wetlands tour, on Saturday, November 13th, to launch its new Business Outreach Initiative. The event focused on green businesses in Santa Cruz County and was covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Read more.
Frog Breeding Pond Project Breaks Ground
In early September, WWW restoration staff began work with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, and local farmers on the second phase of improvements to a 6-acre breeding pond complex for the federally threatened California Red-legged Frog. This is a part of the Land Trust's stewardship efforts on their newly acquired Watsonville Slough Farm. The project involves restoration of about an acre of new oak woodland and native grassland habitat, the enhancement of an existing pond to make it more suitable for the frog's breeding habits, and the creation of a sediment basin to catch any soil and nutrients washing off the surrounding farm before it reaches the breeding area. More about wetlands restoration.
Watsonville Slough Floodplain Restoration Begins
The Watch is working with a number of landowners who own properties containing portions of Watsonville and Struve Sloughs. In late 2009, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, in conjunction with the Santa Cruz RCD, placed conservation easements in the floodplain of these two sloughs, protecting 29.8 acres and creating a wide natural buffer surrounding them. This fall, WWW restoration staff began restoring the rich habitats in these exciting new conservation lands. Wildlife is beginning to respond, as the horned larks and savannah sparrows have already begun nesting on the site. The restoration work will include a 1500' long wildlife corridor to buffer the farm fields from the conservation lands. Read about a field trip to the site.
PV High Freshmen Learn from “Bugs”
Healthy freshwater wetlands are home to hundreds of species interconnected through the web of life. Aquatic invertebrates are the foundation of the delicate wetlands food web and are bioindicators of wetlands health; they can help us determine the health of an environment because they are sensitive to changes. Other examples of bioindicators are frogs and steelhead trout. The presence of sensitive organisms is a sign that the environment is fulfilling at least some of the basic needs for the survival of those organisms and that it may actually be healthy. During the month of October, every PV High freshman took to the sloughs to monitor aquatic invertebrates as part of their ecology unit for Integrated Science. Learn more.
Birding Basics with Nanci Adams
Photo: Vince Maidens
This avid, knowledgeable birder and popular teacher will again be teaching Birding Basics in the Fitz WERC, starting Tuesday, January 11th, 9:30-11:30 a.m. This fun and fascinating class is an introduction to many of the amazing birds of the Pajaro Valley, including resident birds and those who stop here during migration. You will begin building basic field skills, including identification techniques. Bring your binoculars and field guide, if you have them. The fee for a session of 10 classes is $65; participants are also required to buy a $5 package of bird cards. More information.
You Can Help Protect our Environment
Wetland Steward Miguel Ruan and juvenile Great Horned OwlYou can play a part in protecting, restoring, and fostering appreciation of the wetlands with your donation. Look for WWW's year-end appeal letter in your mailbox, or contribute online here. Mail donations can be sent to WWW, P.O. Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules for non-profit organizations and are greatly appreciated.
Watsonville Wetlands Watch advocates for wetland issues, educates elementary, middle, and high school students, restores degraded habitats, preserves what remains whole, and teaches appreciation for the unique beauty and life of the Pajaro Valley wetlands. In cooperation with numerous other agencies, we support studies of and planning for these sites.