WATSONVILLE — The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County is sponsoring a public walk and first-hand look at its management plans for Watsonville Slough Farm on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Land Trust acquired the 500-acre farm at the heart of the Watsonville Slough system in 2009, and completed a 10-year management plan earlier this summer. The plan was developed by a six-member team with input from growers, biologists, planners and community experts. Plans call for an extensive array of improvements with the goal of maintaining farming while improving the health of the rare wetlands.
The Land Trust plans to use $1.8 million in farm revenue over 10 years, and a variety of grants, to increase wildlife habitat 25 percent by 2020. Improvements will provide important foraging, dispersal and breeding habitat for the California red-legged frog, and 20 other state and federally listed species.
The plan will also provide a variety of research and educational opportunities, including hands-on stewardship and learning programs by Watsonville Wetlands Watch and nearby Pajaro Valley High School.
Saturday’s walk will take place on the east side of Hanson Slough, where attendees can get an optimal view of future improvements on the farm. Views will include 55 acres of hilly, marginal farmland that will be taken out of production to create coast live oak woodland and grassland.
Participants are invited to stay after the walk and enjoy a bring-your-own picnic lunch on the property.
Watsonville Slough Farm is located on Harkins Slough Road, west of Highway 1 and Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville. Look for Land Trust signs. Park in marked pullout or near the corner of Harkins Slough Road and Lee Road.
Register at www.LandTrustSantaCruz.org.
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