Watsonville Wetlands Watch Partnering on Urban Greening-Plan Projects
Struve Slough Trail
Recently the City of Watsonville was awarded a $225,000 grant for restoration work along Struve Slough and trails improvement projects. Watsonville Wetlands Watch worked with the City on project design for these high priority projects through the development of the City’s Urban Greening Plan and is partnering with the City of Watsonville to implement these exciting wetland trails and greenway projects. The projects will improve pedestrian trails and landscaping at Hazelwood Park near Rolling Hills school, and restore special habitat along the Upper Struve Slough Trail near Main Street.
The Upper Struve Slough restoration project will enhance an acre of wetland along the upper Struve Slough trail near Clifford Avenue and Main Street. Work will include removal of invasive plants and replanting of thousands of native plants to enhance habitat along the wetlands and improve scenic views from the trail. Currently, tall, dense invasive plants dominate the habitat and obstruct views. This would be replaced by low-growing, native, riparian plantings to provide nesting and foraging habitat for the diverse wildlife species of our slough system. Click to read entire article.
Saving an Endangered Species:
Santa Cruz Tarplant
Bee on Santa Cruz Tarplant
For nine years the Watsonville Wetlands Watch has been working to restore a population of the endangered Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia) on our own Tarplant Hill property. When we purchased the property in 2006 only two plants were observed where there were once thousands. The problem was the buildup of a dense layer of dead grass when grazing animals were removed. Santa Cruz tarplant is an annual wildflower that requires patches of bare soil so its seeds can germinate and grow each year. Luckily the seeds of the tarplant can remain dormant in the soil for many years, and this seed bank creates an insurance policy for the species to survive in the long-term.
Our strategy for restoring the population has been to create scraped areas that expose the underlying seedbank, simply using a tractor to scrape approximately 3 centimeters of soil off the surface in a 100 square meter circular area. We have been creating 3 scrapes a year since 2007, and the results have been very encouraging. We have seen some ups and downs in population numbers, but the trend has been up, with 2,141 plants counted in 2013 and 3,818 plants counted this year. In addition to tarplant, many other native wildflowers are benefiting from this work. We would like to thank the City of Watsonville for their support in lending a tractor to create new scrapes, and for mowing the entire hilltop each year.
Habitat Festival and Native Plant Sale
Photo by Denise Murphy
On Saturday, Sept. 27, the Watsonville Wetlands Watch presents the second annual Habitat Festival and Native Plant Sale, a fun-filled day for the entire family. You can buy native plants, learn about their striking benefits, and see the possibilities for creating a delightful backyard habitat in your own yard or patio. Plus, we'll have new workshops and presentations with expert speakers, a fun Kids Zone, food, music, live animals, nature walks, info booths, free habitat consultations, and demonstration habitats. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center in Watsonville (map/directions).
Native plants consume much less water than the non-native species. That's a big plus given the current water crisis. Also, they are the foundation for a rich diversity of animal life. For example, native plants support a much wider array of insect species that in turn support a greater variety of animals.
July Restoration Day removal of wild radish and poison hemlock
What a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning! Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who came out to join us at the Watsonville Slough Ecological Reserve on July 26. We spent the morning surrounded by birds, chorus frogs, elderberry blossoms, wild rose, mugwort, and other native plants as we removed wild radish and poison hemlock from the West branch of Struve Slough.
You too can help restore wetland habitat by planting native plants and removing exotic invasive plants as part of our monthly community work day on August 23. We will work from 9 a.m. until noon, and we always make time for birding or a short hike around the wetlands. We supply the gloves, tools, and a snack. Meet at our Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). If you have questions, please contact Mary Paul at email@example.com or 831-566-4938.
Summer Appeal Highlights
ROP Students with Frank Estrada, Reiter Berry Farms
We hope you read about the success of our Green Careers ROP course at Pajaro Valley High School in our recent appeal letter. You can read more about Green Careers and other WWW education programs here.
If you made a recent gift to WWW, we thank you for supporting wetlands restoration and conservation and for ensuring local students continue to receive environmental education. If you haven't yet joined our family of donors, please support the work of WWW by making a tax-deductible gift of any size. Your donation will make a difference! Click here to make a secure online donation. Thank you for making our work possible!
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.