CCC Cleans Area of Ohlone Parkway & Harkins Slough Road


Story by Erik Chalhoub appeared in the June 4th issue of the Register Pajaronian.

At the corner of the Ohlone Parkway/Harkins Slough Road intersection lies a short path that leads to Struve Slough. Highly visible to drivers and pedestrians, the area attracted a number of homeless encampments and all the issues that are often associated with them, such as fires and drug activity.

Thanks to the efforts by the City of Watsonville, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the California Conservation Corps (CCC), the area was cleared of trash and non-native plants this week in an effort to beautify the area of town and address a public safety hazard.

City Cuoncilman Jimmy Dutra said he had been working over a number of months to get the cleanup off the ground after he heard complaints from neighbors and nearby businesses about the “public nuisance.”

During the cleanup, crews found slews of needles, feces and other trash that was polluting the area, according to Dutra.

Jonathan Pilch, restoration director of Watsonville Wetlands Watch said cres cleared the area in the “most environmentally responsible way we can,” removing nonnative plants and pruning native ones.

“Sometimes an area can look a bit stark right after cleaning,” he said. “It’s going to rebound, and we are going to be stewarding it over the next year, so native plants can thrive again there.”

Pilch said the clearing is part of an overall watershed management program, which included preserving a buffer along the slough for wildlife.

One of the goals of the clearing is to make it visible and deter unwanted conduct such as drug activity, Dutra said. A similar clearing along the slough near the Westridge Business Park, which was once home to a number of homeless camps, has so far prevented the homeless from returning, he added.

Those who had been taking up residence near the Ohlone Parkway/Harkins Slough Road intersection were given prior notice of the clearing, Dutra said, as well as information about shelters in town.



This entry was posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 3:23 pm and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Homepage News, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.