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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

Sierra Club
   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | chapter wide

Local member makes video on Plight of the Pajaro

Lois Robin, a member of the Club's Santa Cruz Group Executive Committee has produced a video, Stuck in the Mud: The Pajaro River in Peril which documents the challenges to the Pajaro River watershed. The Pajaro River originates in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Gabilan and Diablo Ranges, passing through communities in four counties before emptying into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary after it leaves Watsonville.
  Fluvial geomorphologist, Dr. Robert Curry.
  Fluvial geomorphologist, Dr. Robert Curry, unintentionally illustrates the sediment problem on the Pajaro River by getting stuck in the mud below the Hilsdale sand and gravel operation near San Juan Baptista. Photo: Lois Robin

This immense watershed brings with it a raft of problems associated with agriculture, construction and mining along its course. Nitrates and chemicals from agriculture move into the Monterey Bay contaminating sea life as well as freshwater life in the river. Mining and logging plug the river with sediment, destroying habitat for fish and amphibians. Removal of trees along the levees has destroyed habitat and depleted the once-dense bird life of the lower Pajaro. Towns built along the river floodplain have constricted the natural movement of the river.

The video advocates authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a complete watershed-wide plan rather than dealing only with the 12 downstream miles of the river. It advocates the Sierra Club position of environmental restoration along with flood protection. And it advocates for public access to the river for recreation.

The video will be featured at the Ventana Chapter luncheon on August 27 and will be shown on public television in various communities throughout the watershed. Consult your local TV listings for viewing times.

"Stuck in the Mud" is an independent production by Lois Robin who in addition to serving on the Santa Cruz Group Executive Committee is co-chair of the Pajaro River Watershed Committee. The documentary can be purchased in DVD or VHS formats for $10.00 from Lois Robin, or from the Santa Cruz Sierra Club office, 426-HIKE.

Much of the cost of the video was self-funded by Robin in addition to a small grant from Ken and Ethelyn Miller of Watsonville. Some of the footage was recycled from video taken for the recent multi-media art exhibit on the Pajaro River.

Currently Robin is raising money for distribution. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution may contact Lois at the email address above or call 464-1184 for information on how to contribute.


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