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Watsonville Slough Restoration Project

The Watsonville Slough Restoration Project between Ohlone parkway and Highway 1 will improve wildlife habitat, flood protection and trail access on 25 acres.

Watsonville has one of the largest freshwater wetlands left along the Central Coast. Wetlands like these support an incredible diversity of wildlife, including migratory birds that could not complete their journeys without having this habitat as a rest stop and place to re-fuel migrations of 6,000 miles. Wetlands also have an impact on humans. The water and vegetation in riparian habitats cool our town, help with air quality and provide an incredible opportunity for recreation.

The City has been restoring habitat and adding trails along the wetlands for about 10 years.  The work along the stretch of the slough between Ohlone Parkway and Highway 1 is the final phase of a 25-acre wetlands restoration project. The newly dug channel was widened from about 20 feet to 100 feet. The restored slough will hold more water, providing some measure of flood protection. The bare ground will be replanted with native vegetation to provide wildlife habitat. Additionally, trails will be built around this area to connect to the existing 7 miles already surrounding the sloughs.

The $562,000 project is jointly funded by the City, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Caltrans and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.

 

Projects like these are bringing back valuable wetland ecosystems and the wildlife they support, such as the 225 species of birds depend on our sloughs. One such bird is the Common Cuckoo, which drew national and international visitors to our local wetlands.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Watzon McWats November 07, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Yeah! Love the sloughs. More folks aught to get out and enjoy them.
Cathy P. November 07, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Absolutely!
David H. Perez November 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Our sloughs literally have some of the best birdwatching in the world!
Jennifer Squires November 15, 2012 at 05:08 AM
How can people volunteer? Some readers were asking via Facebook.

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