Keep Your Watershed Beautiful

The space surrounding your home is part of a watershed, where rainwater drains naturally to local rivers and creeks that ultimately flow to the ocean. In the mountains, rainwater that flows into the San Lorenzo River and its tributaries is the main source of drinking water for the City of Santa Cruz and the San Lorenzo Valley. If you live closer to the ocean, water that drains from your property flows into storm drains and straight out to the Monterey Bay, untreated. To keep our bay and drinking water supplies healthy, gardeners need to be conscientious about designing their gardens and choosing plants to help conserve water and control erosion.

For more information about local watersheds, use the following links:

Coastal Watershed Council’s Watershed Stewardship Toolkit:

Arana Gulch Watershed Alliance

San Lorenzo Valley Water District’s Watershed Management Plan

(See especially Chapter 2 and Chapter 3)

The Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District

Watsonville Wetlands Watch

By selecting plants from this website, you are taking the first step toward creating a beautiful and healthy ecosystem in your own yard. When you design your yard and/or garden, keep the following factors in mind:

Pay attention to climate and local conditions

Conserve water and other resources.

Feature native and Mediterranean plants.

Provide wildlife habitat.

Soil is an essential living element, the foundation for a healthy watershed

Reuse plant trimmings through mulching and composting.

Choose least-toxic pest control methods.

If you must use pesticide or fertilizer, follow the instruction labels carefully.