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Our Mission


missionWatsonville Wetlands Watch is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and fostering of appreciation of the wetlands of the Pajaro Valley, especially involving members of the Watsonville community and the students of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

Watsonville Wetlands Watch envisions a wetland ecosystem that thrives within Watsonville and the greater Pajaro Valley, and a community is at the center of its conservation. Our education and volunteer programs serve thousands of youth and students, making sure the next generation of leaders is equipped to take on the complex environmental challenges our community faces. Our habitat restoration programs strengthen the natural resources of our region, cleaning our waterways, improving trails and greenbelts, and laying the foundation of the return of wildlife species whose future survival depends of thoughtful actions taken today.

We acknowledge the Calendaruc, Awaswas, Mutsun, and Rumsen Ohlone people as the traditional inhabitants of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and honor the traditions and practices as original stewards of the land.


Overview of Watsonville Wetlands Watch

overviewWatsonville Wetlands Watch advocates for wetland issues, educates elementary, middle, and high school students, restores degraded habitats, preserves what remains whole, and teaches appreciation for the unique beauty and life of the Pajaro Valley wetlands. In cooperation with numerous other agencies, we support studies of and planning for these sites.

Since 1991 our organization has publicized the importance of the sloughs through public meetings, newspaper articles and the publication of our award winning book, “Watching the Watsonville Wetlands: An Armchair Guide to the Watsonville Slough System” and by advocating for the sloughs before local governmental agencies.

We work with local schools to educate students about the value of the wetlands through a variety of hands-on outdoor and in class environmental education programs, by serving as a resource for teachers, and by providing unique placed based educational materials to be used in the classroom.

We also conduct environmental restoration programs throughout the Watsonville Slough System and the greater Pajaro Valley that benefit wildlife, water quality, natural habitats, and the natural resources of the Pajaro Valley. Through these programs, thousands of community members volunteer their time to restore wetlands and native habitats on public and private lands and in our native plant nursery.

We run the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (Fitz WERC) on the campus of Pajaro Valley High School. The Fitz WERC is a joint venture of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, the City of Watsonville, and Watsonville Wetlands Watch.

We conduct free public tours of our facility, classroom, and greenhouse, and of the wetlands. And we offer on-going tours, evening presentations, and community events, as well as many opportunities for the community to be a part of these important efforts.

We run the Wetland Stewards Program, a hands-on, experiential wetland science after-school program with a mentoring component. We train volunteer docents to support and conduct all our activities. Through program grants from the NOAA B-WET program and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and Fitz WERC program staff are implementing Slough-based Environmental Education (Project SEE) at Pajaro Valley High School.


The History of Watsonville Wetlands Watch

In an era of vanishing wetlands, the Watsonville Sloughs, one of the largest fresh water wetlands in the California Coastal Region, lie in southern Santa Cruz County within sight of the Monterey Bay. In 1990, when developers proposed building 800 homes on the uplands of Struve Slough, a group of concerned citizens urged that the city protect this precious habitat. They were successful and development was stopped. Alerted to the almost hidden but valuable fresh water wetlands system in their midst, citizens of the area banded together to form the Watsonville Wetlands Watch.

Since that time WWW has grown to an influential organization and has been at the forefront of a blossoming of the Watsonville Slough System that was only envisioned at that time.

Download (1.75MB):
pdfWatsonville Wetlands Watch Twenty Years of Vision and Action

pdfGrassroots in the Wetlands: The Saving of the Watsonville Sloughs Watershed



Our Book: Watching the Watsonville Wetlands

Watching the Watsonville Wetlands

An Armchair Guide to the Watsonville Slough System
by Jerry Busch

This award-winning book describes the mysteries of these unique fresh water sloughs. The body of the book is a series of nature essays by Jerry Busch. Jerry's lively writing is based on twenty years of observing life in these sloughs. The two introductory essays, one on the hydrology and geology of this slough system by Gary Kittleson and another on the cultural/social history of the area by Christine Johnson-Lyons, provide a historical context for the book. Woodcuts by nationally known artist Andrea Rich and photographs by six local photographers show the beauty of this little known area.

"Jerry Busch and the Watsonville Wetlands Watch have revealed to us a hidden and wonderful world in the overlooked Watsonville Sloughs. This book will, at once, serve as a great introduction and a motivation for visiting the subtle splendor of the wet world west of Watsonville."

- Mark Silberstein, Executive Director, Elkhorn Slough Foundation



How to get your copy


This book can be purchased online now using the Paypal button link, from your local bookstore, or by mail from the publisher, Watsonville Wetlands Watch.

Send a check for $16.00 to Watsonville Wetlands Watch, PO Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019

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Watsonville Wetlands Watch
PO Box 1239
Freedom, CA 95019-1239
Voice: 831-728-1156
Fax: 831-728-6944
Offices at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center

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