Wetlands are a valuable natural resource that have been widely destroyed and degraded in California and nationwide. California has lost more of its wetlands than has any other state. Preservation and restoration of the Watsonville sloughs are central to the work of Watsonville Wetlands Watch.
Slough wetlands and uplands that have experienced various levels of disturbance are candidates for restoration efforts. Removal of exotic invasive weeds is the first step in returning these areas to natural health. Watsonville Wetlands Watch members, student groups, and volunteers work with landowners and agencies to enhance lands for wildlife habitat while learning what constitutes a functioning system. Our reward is seeing wildlife return to an area and thrive.
Maintenance is an important part of the work we do. Until newly-restored native plants become well-established – a two-to-three year process – they need to be watered, weeded, and cared for. It is not enough to put them in place and forget about them. Support for restoration allows us to see the plants through this cycle and ensure good prospects for their long-term survival.
WWW has partnered with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District to coordinate the restoration of the 80 acres of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs) which surround Pajaro Valley High School. We have written a school-site restoration plan and assisted with wetland restoration and construction of a native plant garden at the Watsonville Charter School of the Arts. The State of California has funded Proposition 50, to restore wetland and upland habitat on lower Watsonville Slough, Struve Slough, and West Struve Slough.
We partner with a diverse range of public and private agencies to restore habitat throughout the Watsonville Sloughs watershed. Through this work we support private landowners to restore native habitat on their land, steward the natural resources of public lands throughout the watershed, and are working to develop a watershed-wide environmental monitoring program to continue to advance our understanding of successful techniques of ecological restoration.