Daniel Casella, Watsonville Wetlands Watch Restoration Specialist, incorporating native seed with a ring roller before a winter storm
This past fall and winter, the Watsonville Wetlands Watch's restoration staff have been busy restoring native grasslands. Native grasslands are a critical component of the Watsonville Sloughs. They create nesting areas for ground nesting birds like mallards and teal, they provide wildlife corridors, and they support the prey base of the entire ecosystem. Because all of the areas that we work on have been previously farmed, our restoration process usually begins in the fall by cultivating the soil and preparing it for seeding. Native seed, grown on our seed farm, is then broadcasted throughout the grassland and incorporated into the soil with a ring roller to ensure the seeds have good contact with the soil. This year, fall and winter rains have been frequent enough to maintain soil moisture, and it looks like we'll have a great crop of native grasses and wildflowers. Warm winter weather is giving way to an early spring feeling and our staff will be out mowing soon to help those native plants get established.
A Mile of Wetland Habitat Restored — Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2015
Volunteers restoring habitat along Struve Slough
on the Bay Breeze trail
If you joined us for World Wetlands Day this year, you were one of the more than 60 people who celebrated this international day of wetlands recognition by helping plant over 800 native plants. This year’s volunteer project, located along Struve Slough on the City of Watsonville’s trail system, was one of the final steps in completing our effort to restore a mile of habitat along three of Watsonville’s sloughs. The restoration effort spans a range of important habitat areas for local fish and wildlife including the City’s trails, local farmland, and protected open space. The project will support many different wildlife species, from California red-legged frogs to white-tailed kites, throughout the watershed and wouldn’t be possible without such strong volunteer support.
Circumnavigation Tour of the Wetlands
On Saturday, April 18, join veteran Watsonville Wetlands Watch board members and wetlands experts Jim Van Houten and Bob Culbertson on a grand tour of the wetlands, where you will visit spots rarely seen by the public. You will discover how this extensive freshwater wetland system fits together, and be able to do a little birding at these scenic spots. From 9 a.m. until noon. Meet at the Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions) and break into carpools for this driving and walking tour. The tour is free but space is limited. Register by clicking here. If you have questions, contact Kathy Fieberling, 831-345-1226, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standing Room Only
for Fred Keeley Discussion
On Thursday, February 5th, former California State Assemblyman and Santa Cruz County Treasurer Fred Keeley spoke to a standing room only audience at the Watsonville Wetlands Watch’s Wetlands Environmental Resource Center (WERC) at Pajaro Valley High School. Fred was invited to speak about two large land use initiatives that Santa Cruz County residents need to know about: the campaign to have the Coastal Dairies property northwest of Santa Cruz designated as the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument, and the proposed creation of a county-wide Open Space District. The Watsonville Wetlands Watch board has since endorsed the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument initiative. Read entire article.
Volunteers and Staff Rescue
Hawk rescuers settling the bird in the carrying crate.
L–R: Adrienne, Darren, Jeanne, Noelle, and Buddy
While Watsonville Wetlands Watch volunteers Jeanne Greatorex and Buddy Nethercutt were doing water quality testing on the banks of Struve Slough in January, they noticed a large hawk floundering in the reeds, beating its wings in distress. As they approached the bird, it jumped on a fence post and tried to fly, then promptly fell back in the water and struggled again to the reeds. Buddy and Jeanne left the site and when they returned to check on the bird over an hour later, the bird was still struggling. The volunteers returned to the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center for advice and assistance. They returned with Education staff members Noelle Antolin, Adrienne Frisbee, and Darren Gertler, a kayak and some equipment for capturing and securing the bird. Read whole article.
Spring is Coming
Pied-billed grebes in Struve Slough. Photo: Efren Adalem
Spring is approaching and the bird nesting season is beginning. As you walk the trails and wetlands, take a Watsonville Wetlands tour, or volunteer on a restoration project, keep an eye out for the many birds with their courtship on display and beginning to prepare their nests and hatch their young.
Fourth Saturday Community Restoration Day
We invite you to help restore wetland habitat by planting native plants and removing exotic invasive plants as part of our monthly community work day on March 28. 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.
Get Involved — Donate —
Make a Difference
Docent Elissa Wagner propagating native plants
The Wetlands Watch offers many ways to combine one's love of the environment with meaningful community action. We would love for you to join us for any of our activities! Come to a Restoration Saturday, attend a tour, come to a lecture, help propagate native plants. And if you can, please support the Wetlands Watch with a contribution. Your gift of any size is important to us, and every gift is multiplied many times over by the work of dedicated volunteers. Thank you for being a part of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch! Click here.
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.