|Welcome to Project Tierra!|
Project Tierra is a citizen science wetland biodiversity monitoring project in which students of all ages collect and record environmental data over the long-term to monitor the biodiversity and overall health of the Watsonville wetlands. The overarching goal of Project Tierra is to provide ongoing data regarding water quality, plant populations and bird populations to the scientific community that will inform wetland conservation and land management decisions in the Pajaro Valley. We are especially interested in using this data to evaluate the success of Watsonville Wetlands Watch restoration projects and guide the adaptive management of these lands.
Volunteers assist in counting land and shore bird populations in Watsonville Sloughs and surrounding upland habitats. We use bird protocols designed by local experts in ornithology and the Watsonville Sloughs system.
Each month, volunteers test water quality in the Watsonville Sloughs. They measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and turbidity. They also sample periodically for nutrients and bacteria levels.
Volunteers and students visit the local sloughs to sample and identify the diversity of species of aquatic invertebrates in the wetlands. Because some species of aquatic invertebrates are more sensitive to pollution than others, the kinds of species found help us determine how healthy a wetland is.
Volunteers monitor plant populations in restored wetland and upland sites of the Watsonville Sloughs. We are interested in native versus non-native plant populations as well as rare, threatened, and endangered plants.