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Coastal Watershed Council

Coastal Watershed Council

Organization Mission

The mission of the Coastal Watershed Council is to preserve and protect coastal watersheds through community stewardship, education and monitoring.

The Big Idea:
San Lorenzo River Revitalization

The San Lorenzo River is the main drinking water source for 100,000 people. It provides habitat for endangered species, fish, birds and wildlife. The river and park that lines its banks, the Santa Cruz Riverwalk, is crucial to public health and could be a natural respite, popular greenway and gathering space in the heart of Santa Cruz’s urban downtown—yet it feels more like a back alley than the city’s central park.

When Santa Cruzans avoid the San Lorenzo River, our community becomes disconnected from it, which keeps us from understanding the benefits the river provides, how we rely on it, and how we impact local waterways through our daily actions.

Rivers can transform our well-being. In other communities rivers are alternative transportation corridors, drivers of economic activity, destinations for tourism, and natural spaces people feel proud of and safe near. By rebuilding personal connections to our river, CWC is shifting the way we interact with this critical natural resource. The result is both a healthier watershed and a healthier, more vibrant community as we feel safe outdoors and enjoy a park—a space of connection—in the heart of Santa Cruz.


Living just a half block away, I have walked the Santa Cruz Riverwalk for 21 years. Since I retired 4 years ago, I walk it almost daily. Thanks to CWC, and their wonderful events and stewardship of the river, I have seen a dramatic increase in positive activities and people truly enjoying our beautiful river.

Gail E., Santa Cruz