West Marine volunteers help Watsonville Wetlands

A crew from West Marine takes time out of the regular work day to help clear non-native plants along Struve Slough in concert with workers from Watsonville Wetlands Watch. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

By TARMO HANNULA

OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN

WATSONVILLE — Struve Slough is getting closer and closer to its own native habitat, thanks to the ongoing efforts by a volunteer crew from nearby West Marine. The quarterly visits by more than two dozen staff, under the guidance of Restoration Specialist Daniel Casella of Watsonville Wetlands Watch, have been routine for the past two years.

The crew targets non-native plants and makes way for new native plantings while clearing a safe environment for nesting birds, such as mallards, in the shore lands of the slough.

“They’re great,” Casella said of the workers. “They come out here on a regular basis and they’re ready to help, to make this a better place. We get a lot done and have fun doing it.”

Indeed, with rakes, hoes and work gloves in hand, the workers fanned out over a swath of land and sunk into the task of clearing invasive plants such as wild radish.

“I’m out here because this is where we take our walks during the workday and it is our way of making this a more beautiful, more inviting place to be,” said Janet Estes, who is also a docent for WWW. “We’ve adopted a part of the slough and we clear plants, plant seeds and plants with a goal of making this once again native grasslands.”

A man who went by the name Vanket, said, “We do it for ourselves and it is because it feels good to contribute. This is a good stress reliever when you’re used to working indoors. We’re here to help.”

Cherry Edwards said she enjoys the slough and wants to keep it a “beautiful space.”

“When we walk here on our breaks we really appreciate how nice it is, so close to our work place. We want to maintain that. Helping out here is one of the coolest things about working here.”


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