With the holidays behind us, like many of you CWC is racing into an exciting and fulfilling 2017. Before I share what’s coming this year, it seems appropriate to pause for a moment and reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish in the year we’ve just wrapped up.

CWC worked with 2,431 students in the past year, continued our 21-year history of water quality monitoring programs to engage citizen scientists at Snapshot Day, Urban Watch and First Flush and expanded our stewardship efforts beyond water tours to include Adopt A Parklet and River Health Days. All of CWC’s work is guided by our view that individuals can and must take simple steps towards watershed protection in order to improve the health of local rivers. CWC’s job is to make people aware of the role they play and empower and inspire each of us to do our part.

I’m so impressed with what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past year. What I’m most proud of, however, is how we go about it. We’re a science-based organization and we understand how important the human heart is to our work of watershed protection. We’ve challenged ourselves to offer active learning opportunities at CWC events where people truly build a meaningful connection to nature. The geek in many of us loves the data and science stuff; and for each of us what we’re really motivated by is our passion, our loves and fears and hopes. We mix the head and the heart elements into each CWC event to create meaningful connections to nature for each of you.

And speaking of you, that’s the last and most important topic to reflect on for 2016. CWC has engaged more of you as you’ve become volunteers, donors, and River Revelers of all sorts. On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, interns, funders, partners and volunteers, thank you for making 2016 such a heartwarming, satisfying success.

Looking into 2017, we’re excited to partner with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on the 18th year of the Central Coast Regional Snapshot Day on Saturday, May 6, 2017 – and Urban Watch and First Flush will be here before we know it. In the Spring CWC and local partners will release our report summarizing the next phase of microbial source tracking monitoring, which follows up the group’s 2014 study of bacteria sources in the San Lorenzo River. That’s science driving action for a cleaner river for each of us.

We’ll also continue to offer you water tours to learn about watershed and habitat function, along with River Health Days and more Adopt A Parklet events with partners excited to invest in the Santa Cruz Riverwalk. CWC will also expand our youth education work at after school programs, in the classroom and on field trips by hiring an additional environmental educator starting this month. The community has responded to our impactful work and we’re excited to announce that growth.

We look forward to working with key partners who are hosting the State of the San Lorenzo River Symposium in March, the Ebb & Flow Arts Festival in June, and we’ll continue to host events at the Riverwalk and measure the community’s draw to the river in our ongoing Riverwalk Usage Study. From fly fishing clinics to poetry readings by the river, throughout 2017 CWC will be giving every one of you, and every member of our community, an opportunity to come to the San Lorenzo and other rivers.

When we all feel that deep connection to nature as we learn how we rely on it and affect it in our daily lives, we’ll build healthy watersheds connected to thriving communities. We look forward to you joining us in the next year in this exciting work the Santa Cruz community is so energized by. Thanks for being a part of our successful 2016 and enjoy this rainy start to 2017!

With Gratitude,


Greg Pepping

Executive Director

Coastal Watershed Council

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