Bringing wildlife back to the SL River Estuary

San Lorenzo River Estuary Project

Santa Cruz, CA

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About the Project

After years of neglect, the estuary is being revegetated to restore a sustainable ecosystem to attract wildlife and continue the expansion of the riparian corridor. Walking paths allow the community to observe the restoration and enjoy the returning wildlife.

The San Lorenzo River travels along its 29.3-mile course, flowing into Monterey Bay at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The 2.2-mile urban river stretch — from the Laurel Street Bridge to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River, where it enters Monterey Bay — is bordered on either side by levees to prevent flooding into the residential neighborhoods and downtown areas. The river banks of these levees have accumulated sand and soil to sustain native vegetation, which provides the food, shelter, and nesting areas for local and migratory bird populations as well as shade and sustenance for steelhead trout and Coho salmon. This stretch of the river is recognized as a valuable resource with diverse microsystems that are essential to the integrity of the native habitat in the lower San Lorenzo River and estuary and integral to the overall health of the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed.

The Estuary Re-vegetation Project supports the restoration of the native habitat of the lower river by thoughtfully tending to the plants and soils along the levee. The Estuary Re-vegetation Project works to:

  • Remove invasive, non-native vegetation
  • Reveal existing native plants
  • Restore native vegetation along the levee/riparian section of the river
  • Increase the connectivity of restored habitat throughout the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed, creating extended corridors of native habitat.

Jane Mio leads the Estuary Re-vegetation Project and builds upon previous levee restoration projects. She engages with and educates community volunteers to restore this crucial section of the San Lorenzo River.



Valley Women's Club of SLV


Downtown Streets Team Santa Cruz, residents, community groups, and students


Improving native habitat food sources, protecting shelter for wildlife

Restoration Updates

San Lorenzo River

Years of Environmental Work Slated for Destruction

January 11, 2023

Years of Environmental Work Slated for Destruction Santa Cruz,…

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Volunteers at the Estuary Project

Building Community, Plant by Plant

October 15, 2022

Many volunteers might be considered ‘regulars’; however, many are curious members of various groups throughout Santa Cruz County (schools, civic organizations, etc.) interested in the work being conducted.

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San Lorenzo Estuary program volunteers

Restoration Update: September 2022

September 24, 2022

We’ve seen in the past months volunteer’s ongoing work of removing invasives, working to control erosion and general clean-up. In September, they readied the land for fall and winter rains.

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San Lorenzo River

Restoration Update: August 2022

August 20, 2022

It may seem that what occurs downstream, in Santa Cruz, may not matter to the San Lorenzo Valley or anywhere else. Still lessons we pick up from Jane very much relate to our responsibilities to the river upstream, beginning in our own yards and communities!

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Mycelium, Just What the Soil Doctor Ordered!

July 23, 2022

What Happens Downstream Matters Jane Mio continues her work…

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San Lorenzo River

Restoration Update: June 2022

June 24, 2022

What Happens Downstream Matters Jane Mio continues her work…

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Jane Mio and the Downtown Streets Team

Meet Jane Mio

May 4, 2022

Jane Mio is Co-chair of the VWC’s Native Habitat…

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