Watershed Restoration

Santa Cruz County is home to 26 rare plant and animal species, a number of globally rare habitats, more than 850 miles of waterways, 18,000 acres of grasslands, two-thirds forested land, and over 1,500 acres of wetlands. However, past land use and land practices have resulted in the loss or degradation of these critical habitats.

At the Resource Conservation District we envision our county as a place where natural resources and the communities and economies that depend upon them are thriving and resilient. We believe protecting natural resources meets the needs of people, the community, and the environment—for water, food, clean air, connection, and a diversity of landscapes that are necessary for all life to thrive.

The RCD implements effective watershed health programs to promote healthy ecosystems that are adaptable to climate change. We work with private and public landowners to:

  • Implement a watershed-based approach to water and land management.
  • Develop and deploy a countywide ecological restoration and stewardship program for species recovery.
  • Build and lead a pro-active forest health and fire resiliency program bringing a multi-objective approach.
  • Identify and reduce barriers to implementation of conservation projects on private lands.
  • Establish new and updated conservation approaches at a regional scale and within Santa Cruz County.

Examples of our on-the-ground conservation work includes removal of fish passage barriers, clearing of invasive species, restoration of wetland, riparian, upland and forest habitats, improvements to rural roads to reduce of sediment in streams, management of stormwater runoff, and enhancements to streams such as addition of large wood and floodplain reconnection.

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