San Lorenzo River

We envision a safe, clean and fun San Lorenzo River that connects our community to nature.

The river brings us together with ties to our daily recreation, transportation and economic activities. We all know and care for the river, honoring our strong values for fish, wildlife and nature.

CWC took a strategic focus on the San Lorenzo River in December 2013, committing to work through a coalition of partners who are invested in improving the health of the river and what it means to this community. At that time, CWC co-founded the San Lorenzo River Alliance and the group has fused your input with the many San Lorenzo River and watershed management plans to co-create this vision and the following goals.

A healthy and thriving San Lorenzo River

River Health

Improve San Lorenzo River water quality by 25% by the end of 2018 (compared to 2014 baseline of bacteria levels)

Progress to date:
The Alliance’s Water Quality Working Group has developed a unified approach to reducing bacteria in the San Lorenzo River. By pooling previous knowledge and experience and by conducting a joint study on bacteria sources using multiple lines of evidence in 2014, the working group has prioritized bacteria sources and corresponding best management practices (BMPs) to address them. This process exemplifies science driving policy decisions. The working group will be replicating its initial study to compare bacteria levels and sources from 2014, a drought year, to 2016, a normal hydrological year. Monitoring results will help further refine the BMPs to be implemented, supporting a clean and healthy river.

A healthy and thriving San Lorenzo River

River Revelers

Increase “River Revelers” (joggers, walkers, families, seniors, bikers, picnickers, etc.) visiting the Santa Cruz Riverwalk by 15% by June 2017 (compared to 2015-16 baseline)

Progress to date:
The Alliance’s Community Engagement Working Group created the Riverwalk Usage Study to measure River Revelers at the Santa Cruz Riverwalk.  CWC volunteers are trained to conduct parks usage surveys, passive observation surveys where they tally who is at the Riverwalk and in what activities they are participating. From August 2014 to July 2015, CWC established baseline data for observed activities and develop a greater understanding of how this community utilizes this park. Alliance partners used this data to tailor activities to activate this community space and as documentation to apply for funding to revitalize this park. In the second year of the study, we measured a 11% increase in positive activities taking place at the Riverwalk during summer months and a 47% increase in the fall. CWC is now leading a third consecutive year of the Riverwalk Usage Survey. You can help! Please sign up to volunteer today!

A healthy and thriving San Lorenzo River

River Talk

Maintain media focus on the San Lorenzo River, engaging conversations beyond the drought and increase positive press mentions about the river by 10% by the end of 2016 (compared to 2015 baseline).

Progress to date:
CWC began measuring press mentions of the San Lorenzo River in 2013. Each year since, we’ve established a goal to increase the number of positive press mentions about the river. Positive press mentions include people talking about the San Lorenzo River in print media, on TV or the radio, or elsewhere in the press where conversations focus on the river as our drinking water source, as critical habitat for fish and wildlife and as a place for community engagement and recreation. So far, from 2013 to 2015, the number of positive press mentions about the San Lorenzo River more than tripled from 30 annual mentions to 97. During this same period, negative press mentions decreased by 40%.