For the second year in a row, the Coastal Watershed Council hosted a volunteer event to enhance habitat along the Santa Cruz Riverwalk as part of National Trails Day on June 1, 2024. We were joined by 22 enthusiastic volunteers that morning, who together removed 742 square feet of invasive ice plant along the San Lorenzo River by Mike Fox Park – our biggest ice plant removal this year!

Thanks to this hardworking team giving their all, we filled a 15-yard dumpster to the brim with ice plant! We also removed and reduced the seed bank of Italian thistle, another invasive plant. Ice plant easily takes over an area and crowds out other plants, so this effort made room for willows, California blackberry, and other natives to spread, and provided better basking and nesting habitat for Western Pond Turtles. At this year’s State of the San Lorenzo River Symposium, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Chad Mitcham highlighted CWC’s ice plant removal efforts as a great example of how to improve habitat for these threatened turtles! 

While the Riverwalk is more urban than some of the other 21 hiking and biking trails that were maintained throughout Santa Cruz County on National Trails Day, this important thoroughfare plays a vital role in connecting our community to nature at the San Lorenzo River. And thanks to the care of committed volunteers, it’s now one step closer to becoming a thriving urban river ecosystem. We had a blast participating in this county-wide event organized by Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, and celebrating with hundreds of others at Woodhouse Brewery. Looking forward to next year! 

Interested in volunteering to improve the habitat of the San Lorenzo River? Sign up for one of our upcoming River Health Days on our events page!  


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