To preserve and protect habitat for endangered species of the Santa Cruz Mountains bioregion, focusing on the San Gregorio Watershed and the San Mateo County coast. We work through community education, monitoring, research, outreach, habitat preservation and restoration.
The San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center was founded in 1988 by Dr. George Cattermole to provide environmental educational opportunities to school-age children. One of the Center's first programs was to bring students from Flood Elementary School to the coastside to experience rural life and expose them to the coastal environment. We feel it is important for young people to be exposed to the beauty and fragility of the area while learning how to assess and care for it. The stream monitoring program was initiated in August 1998 in Whitehouse Creek; monitoring began in the San Gregorio Watershed in 2000. SGERC focuses it's efforts on working closely with the community and other groups to share information and resources.
The SGERC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. It has a Board of Directors which is responsible for financial oversight and approval of major projects. Neil Panton is Executive Director and manages the stream monitoring program and the office. More than twenty active volunteers collect water quality data each weekend in the San Gregorio watershed and help maintain the office, website and organization.
Our stream monitoring program measures water quality and levels year-round in the San Gregorio Watershed. Using field test kits we measure 5 basic water parameters at various sites. The health of the water determines the health of the plants and animals whose survival depend on it. We currently measure Dissolved Oxygen (oxygen level in the water), Water Temperature, pH (acidity), Conductivity (salinity) and Turbidity (water clarity). In addition, we measure air temperature, stream discharge and stream height. Through our website we're able to share information and resources with the community and others. SGERC provides the training and equipment necessary for our programs and occasionally appeals to the community for financial support and volunteers.
Anyone can volunteer! Our volunteers spend 2-3 hours once a month collecting and analyzing water samples and measuring discharge with their weekend team. Each team has a leader who oversees their weekend. Most teams meet Saturday morning at 9am and are finished monitoring before noon. You'll work with more experienced monitors and learn our methods for collecting, testing and recording water data. By working with other watershed groups we can achieve equipment and quality control standards that make our data beneficial to a variety of users. If you think you're interested in becoming a stream monitor or helping in some other way (web maintenance, fundraising, office work), please!, contact us by any of the above means.