Staff from the Santa Cruz and Golden State Warriors recently made a tangible impact for the San Lorenzo River by removing invasive ice plant – three whole tons of it!  On June 27, 2024, the group of 27 enthusiastic volunteers donned bright blue shirts and convened at the Santa Cruz Riverwalk near Mike Fox Park, just across the river from the Warrior’s stadium at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Led by CWC River Ecologist Kaiya Giuliano Monroy with support from CWC staff, the team used shears, clippers, and lots of elbow grease to snip runners of invasive ice plant and load it onto tarps, which they then hauled up the levee to a waiting 15-yard dumpster. The hardworking crew removed 731 square feet of highly invasive ice plant and filled the dumpster to the brim – a load weighing about three tons!

This major effort helped clear space for native plants and animals along the river, including the Western Pond Turtle, which requires open areas for basking, and is part of a successful, multi-year volunteer partnership between the Warriors and CWC. Before the event kicked off, Santa Cruz Warriors President Chris Murphy shared remarks about the Coastal Watershed Council and this ongoing collaboration, highlighting how important our work is for the San Lorenzo, and how excited he is for the future of the river and for our partnership together. We are very thankful to this dedicated group of river neighbors who put the idea of river stewardship into practice!  

This event builds on a series of CWC-led efforts to remove the ice plant at this site at the lower river. Stay tuned and come check out ongoing habitat restoration and enhancement efforts yourself to watch the long-term evolution of this location into a thriving and diverse native river ecosystem! 

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