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The Greening of Watsonville

The city is drastically short on trees, and Watsonville will be more beautiful with the planting of trees.

On Thursday, April 5, the Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission met and approved the Urban Greening Street Tree Planting Plan. The commission also approved the Urban Greening Landscape Guidelines. These plans describe the existing conditions of the city, the value of trees, the proposed priority implementation projects, the framework to guide planting designs and the next steps for City Council approval and funding. You can give further input to this plan on April 24 when the Plan goes to the city council for approval.

Citywide, Watsonville only has 7.8 percent tree canopy coverage. This includes street trees and trees on private property. It is estimated that approximately an additional 46,600 trees are needed to have a canopy cover of 40 percent. Why trees? To my pleasant surprise I learned that trees help to:

-increase home value                                   -decrease crime

-calm traffic                                                -reduce global warming

-improve air quality                                      -absorb storm water

-reduce energy use                                      -create urban habitat

Trees are valuable to promote a healthy city environment.

Three meetings were held to get input from the community as the plan was being developed. The meetings were held October 16, 2011, November 2, 2011 and November 16, 2011. From these meetings it was agreed that the streets that needed to serve as models for street-tree planting were the following:

-Freedom Boulevard                                      -East Lake Avenue

-Martinelli Street                                           -Upper Main Street

-Clifford Avenue                                            -Bockius Street

-Riverside Drive

The two organizing principals that will guide the planting of trees on these streets and citywide are sustainability principles (protect wetlands and river, conserve water, preserve and create habitat) and design principles (improve safety, protect buildings and infrastructure, and make Watsonville more beautiful).

If the Watsonville City Council gives approval to this Plan on April 24 short-term tree planting could begin with the participation of private property owners. The City would also immediately begin applying for grant funding. We need your input to make this endeavor work. Please attend the April 24 Watsonville City Council meeting to give your input. For any questions, contact Bob Geyer, Assistant Director of Public Works and Utilities, (831) 768-3100.

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.

Jennifer Squires April 09, 2012 at 09:40 PM
On Facebook, Donald Gunderson shared "if you would stop cutting them down for houses that no one can afford,we would have plenty of trees...just a thought."
Steve Bankhead April 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I love trees as much as anyone, but I hope the cost of maintaining them is being factored into the plans. And please also select appropriate trees for the site. I recall magnolia trees being planted in local sidewalks, and later cracking them with their high root systems.
wetlandswatchdog April 18, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The city also approved to turn an open space 10 feet from the Wetlands on Loma Vista st into a farm/community garden. Here is a link to another Wetlands area that was encroached upon http://www.flickr.com/photos/18802361@N07/1970905063/in/photostream/ as you can see it is not pretty when the bulldozers come in and turn the Wetlands into a farm. There have been many issues raised with the city about this site on Loma Vista. There is no crosswalk or sidewalk and it is not handicap assessable. People will have to jaywalk and cross dangerous traffic to get to the site. It is in an out of the way location and not connected to the downtown where the garden could do some real good for people who have no yards. There are too many real vacant lots in this city to use up valuable Wetlands for farming. See the wetlandswatch blog to see this beautiful area they want to bulldoze and put irrigation on. http://wetlandswatch.tumblr.com/ The city council will be deciding the final fate of this land on Tuesday April 24 at 6:30pm, come on by and let them know if you have concerns.
Juan Gardener April 20, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Nancy, Why do you continue to spread lies. And why are you pretending to be Wetlands Watch. you do a disservice to the great people of Watsonville Wetlands Watch who have been protecting the wonderful wetlands of watsonville for over two decades. Why do you hide behind fake environmental issues that you make up. Are you ashamed to let everyone see you for the Latino hating racist you are?
audrey April 24, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Maybe someone can answer to the idea that vacant/unused "city lots" being of smaller size, suitable for family-garden uses, and located in areas much more accessible to downtown residents, interested in Family Garden project. They seem a better use for this purpose, more so than outlying places , often difficult for families to get to and maintain. . as well as being able to include ALL family members, children, seniors etc?
audrey April 24, 2012 at 06:04 PM
"Nancy:" Is there a way you could respond to "Juan Gardener's" assertion that you are not actual "Wetlands Watch" member? I am disturbed by notion that someone would "hide behind an organization", for whatever reason. I feel such statements need to be substantiated (by Mr.Gardener as well as yourself ). since they tend to damage the authenticity of both Mr. Gardner and you,. .. . and, the Wetlands Watch! Words matter!
Jennifer Squires April 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
The Watsonville Wetlands Watch has taken no official position on community gardens. I've spoken with their staff, at the request of the organization's board of directors, about the matter. The "wetlands watch" Patch user is not representative of their organization.
Watsonville Wetlands Watch April 30, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Watsonville Wetlands Watch is a 501 © 3 non-profit with the mission to protect, restore and foster appreciation of the freshwater wetlands of the Pajaro Valley. Since 1990, we have provided active wetland restoration and oversight of the 800 acres of freshwater Watsonville Wetlands. We provide environmental education to 2000 youth per year and restore over 1000 acres throughout the Pajaro Valley watershed. Watsonville Wetlands Watch’s strength comes in the partnerships we have fostered over the years.  We work with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to provide native plantings on wetlands/ agricultural interface on over 500 acres of organic farm lands.  We restore habitat along six miles of trails around the sloughs and are responsible for restoration on slough uplands throughout Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley including the Watsonville Sloughs Ecological Reserve and many other properties, in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Game, the City of Watsonville, and many other local landowners and partners.  We support the City of Watsonville in their greening efforts as they provide trees, parks, and a greener city under the Prop 84 Planning Grant. In our efforts to provide education and state of the art restoration techniques, we facilitate lectures, tours, monthly community restoration Saturdays, and special events to the community of Watsonville.

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