SAN LORENZO RIVER ESTUARY RE-VEGETATION PROJECT

Restoration Update: August 2022

Photo credit: Chevy111

What Happens Downstream Matters

Jane Mio continues her work on the Estuary Re-Vegetation Project Site with her teams of local Volunteers.

Saturday, August 20, 2022
Location: South of Laurel St/Broadway bridge above the Mike Fox Skateboard meadow
Volunteers: 9 members of the Youth Group of the Salinas Compass Church, 3 residents, 3 Downtown Street Team members

Total Volunteer Hours: 31

Estuary Project volunteers
Compass Church Youth Group, DST members Robin, Mike, Ivan & residents Dan, Russ (not pictured: Jane)

In late August, Jane Mio met with 15 new and seasoned Estuary Project Volunteers at the Mike Fox Skateboard meadow to continue working on restoring the banks of the San Lorenzo River. Clocking in 31 total hours of work, the tasks ranged from picking up litter, pruning out the deadwood, and focusing on protecting the roots of all plantings. Jane can connect with many County-wide volunteer groups but also has a dedicated and steady group of Downtown Street Team Volunteers. 

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!

One of the ongoing issues for us all is maintaining the health of our soil. The plantings we make or remove can aid in that. When removing invasives, or any plantings, the soil should not be left bare. Bare soil is easily overheated, killing existing microorganisms and resulting in sterilization of the very substance we must have to provide life to our ecosystem.

Mulch, then, becomes a vital element in our soils. If we look at our forest environments, we see natural mulches. They act to shade, cool, and support the soil, microorganisms, fungi, and small animals. This type of mulching should be replicated anywhere.

Another vital element of soil care to be addressed by Jane and her volunteers is erosion. While there are many causes of erosion, ground burrowing animals (ground squirrels, rabbits, gophers) may contribute to erosion but also immediately act to expose both the newly disrupted soil and bared plant roots to heat exposure. Additionally, a small area of intrusion from one of these animals or another cause may lead to great disruption during our winter rains. These holes and other disruptions need to be backfilled, tamped down, and supported to protect root plants and restabilize the soil. Be sure to check that berms/walls around your plantings are adequate in height/width for the amount of water you apply and that they have not been compromised by burrowing animals.

Estuary Project volunteers
Friends enjoy working together
Estuary Project volunteers
Off to their next task…

The San Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration Program integrates environmental and community needs to restore the riparian habitat and ensure the ongoing health and beauty of the watershed.

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About the San Lorenzo River Estuary Re-Vegetation Project

Begun in 2017 as a project site of the Native Habitat Restoration Program of the Valley Women’s Club of San Lorenzo Valley, the Estuary Re-Vegetation Project also enjoys support from the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department and City Serve and Downtown Streets Team members.

An added benefit of these workdays allows Jane to share the beauty of the Estuary, native habitat restoration techniques, and to help the volunteers understand the importance of caring for the San Lorenzo River and the San Lorenzo River Watershed, the source of water for the City of Santa Cruz, and the San Lorenzo Valley, as well as the watersheds where visiting volunteers live.

Volunteers meet every 3rd Saturday of the month, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM in a designated area of the estuary.

Join the Restoration Revolution!

We'd love to have your help to ensure the estuary thrives! Contact us to get on the volunteer mail list to learn about where we will be restoring next.

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