Number of volunteers
Number of Hours Volunteered
Square Footage of Invasive Species Removed
During the dry season in summer and fall, the banks of the San Lorenzo River turn from green to gold. Native plants finish flowering and go dormant, conserving their resources until wet weather returns and their cycle beings anew. While native plants wait patiently for the first rains of winter, CWC River Health Day volunteers have been hard at work preparing the CWC habitat enhancement site for a productive growing season. River Health Days are volunteer events held along the San Lorenzo River that aim to improve riparian habitat by removing or slowing the spread of invasive exotic plants and supporting native plant growth.
From July through October 2019, CWC held nine River Health Day events with 180 volunteers participating in vital river stewardship activities. Volunteers removed 2,700 square feet of harmful invasive ice plant and Himalayan blackberry. Left unchecked, these invasive exotic species would crowd out beneficial native plants like yarrow and lupine, competing for space, sunlight, nutrients and water. By removing these invaders, volunteers created a more hospitable growing environment for native vegetation and opened up new areas for native plants to be established this winter. Volunteers also increased growing space for native plants by weeding out exotic ruderal grasses. Exotic ruderal grasses are abundant up and down the river corridor. We will never be truly free of them, but by weeding around the stems and stalks of over 500 established native plants, volunteers helped reduce competition for precious precipitation. Thanks to all the volunteer care and attention, this riverbank is now ready for winter!
Thank you to everyone who supports River Health Days!
Thank you to our 180 volunteers, including volunteers from BBVA, Western Digital, the University of Exeter, Tierra Pacifica Charter School, Northern California Peace Corps Association – Santa Cruz and Monterey Chapter, Yoso Wellness Spa and Hotel Paradox. Thank you to our partners at the City of Santa Cruz Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments and CitySERVE. Finally, a special thank you to our funders who make this community stewardship work possible, including Central Coast Wilds, Ecological Concerns, Inc., Omega Nu of Santa Cruz, Western Digital Corporation Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Conservation Action Fund.
Planting season is right around the corner!
This winter, volunteers like you will plant 2,150 new native plants in CWC’s habitat enhancement site between the Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street bridges. Join one of CWC’s River Health Days and help plant new species to improve habitat conditions along the lower San Lorenzo River! All ages and abilities welcome.