The San Lorenzo River is vital to Santa Cruz County as our drinking water supply, as critical fish and wildlife habitat, and as a place of recreation where residents and tourists can enjoy nature. With key partners who have worked on improving the river for decades, the Coastal Watershed Council formed the San Lorenzo River Alliance in December 2013 to lead a transformation of the San Lorenzo River.
The goal of the San Lorenzo River Alliance is to create a healthy watershed connected to a thriving community. While other communities across California and around the nation are enjoying river revivals, many in Santa Cruz County have forgotten about the San Lorenzo River. In other cities and towns, their riverfront has become a driver of economic activity, a destination for tourism and recreation, and an inviting public space community members are proud of and drawn to – a welcoming setting where we can be restored through nature. That is also possible in our community.
The San Lorenzo River Alliance is a coalition of nonprofit and government agencies focused on revitalizing the health of the San Lorenzo River and transforming this critical natural resource into a safe and welcoming community destination.
The following organizations are playing an active role in co-leading this powerful Alliance:
- City of Santa Cruz
- County of Santa Cruz
- Museum of Natural History
- Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
- San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club
- Arts Council Santa Cruz County
- Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce
- Save Our Shores
- Museum of Art & History
- San Lorenzo Valley High School
These partners are joined by other organizations and individuals to focus on flood protection, water quality, community engagement, recreational access, public safety, habitat, water supply and economic development. Currently active working groups include water quality, recreational access, community engagement and fish and wildlife habitat. The Alliance will achieve the goal of a healthy watershed connected to a vibrant community by working towards the following objectives:
- River Health: 25% reduction in bacteria in the San Lorenzo River by 12/31/2018 (compared to 12/31/2014 baseline).
- River Revelers: 50% increase in “river revelers” (hikers, bikers, picnickers, lovers, paddlers) by 12/31/2016 (compared to 12/31/2014 baseline).
- River Talk: 50% increase in positive press mentions about the river by 12/31/2015 (based on 12/31/2014 baseline).