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Karen christensen2Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Santa Cruz County Board President Jim McKenna and the rest of the RCD family are extremely saddened by the passing of former RCD Executive Director Karen Christensen on January 21 after living with cancer for over four years.

Karen began working with the RCD as a volunteer but quickly advanced to lead the RCD as Executive Director where she worked for 18 years with an ever-present smile, limitless energy, optimism and dedication. Karen charted a course for the RCD based on the belief that private land owners were overlooked as a meaningful force for conservation. Karen’s bold vision, leadership and collaborative style brought together unlikely allies including landowners, agencies and technical specialists to reduce water pollution and erosion, protect water supplies, improve wildlife habitat and sustain working lands. In accepting a 2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, Karen was quoted as saying, “If you want to affect water, you have to harness the power of landowners.”

The RCD in partnership with the Coastal Watershed Council hosted a tour of the new Heart of Soquel Plaza Park (HOS) and the Soquel Creek Water District Headquarters. With winter upon us, the tour highlighted stormwater management features at both locations that help slow down, spread out, and sink stormwater back into the ground or save it for later use.

The HOS project includes a community open plaza with permeable pavers that allow water to infiltrate through and back into the ground. It incorporates bioswales for capturing stormwater runoff into a beautiful open space.  Creekside restoration and a walkway along the top bank of Soquel Creek are other features of the new park.

Big turnout yesterday for the Blue Circle, organized by Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Proud to host this community gathering of "people having fun in watersheds."

Posted by Community Foundation Santa Cruz County on Wednesday, November 11, 2015


SANTA CRUZ, CA – November 4, 2015 - The Coastal Watershed Council and Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County will host a tour at the new Heart of Soquel Park (HOS) and the Soquel Creek Water District Headquarters to showcase water friendly features including rain gardens, permeable surfaces and riparian restoration that improve water quality and natural habitat. Those who attend will learn how to incorporate these best practices into their own home landscapes.

thumb IMG 7852The HOS project includes creekside restoration and a walkway along the top bank of Soquel Creek, a community open plaza with permeable pavers, other open space that incorporates bioswales for capturing sotrmewater runoff, and better visual, pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular access into this portion of Soquel Village from Porter Street and Soquel Drive.

thumb IMG 6800After viewing the new Soquel park attendees will walk to the nearby Soquel Creek Water District to view the site’s rain garden, 2850 gallons rain catchment and irrigation system, and underground water infiltration facility.

The tour will be held Saturday, November 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Heart of Soquel Park. RSVP required. Signup here or (831) 464-9200. This is a free, family-friendly event.

Photo opportunities will be available at the event.

The Coastal Watershed Council is a leading organization responsible for preserving and protecting watersheds on California’s Central Coast through watershed monitoring, education and stewardship. The Coastal Watershed Council formed the San Lorenzo River Alliance in December 2013 as a community partnership with the goal of creating a healthy watershed connected to a vibrant community. The Coastal Watershed Council invites the community to get involved today by calling (831) 464-9200 or visiting

The RCD is a special district that has been providing services to Santa Cruz County landowners since 1941. We are non-regulatory and offer conservation assistance to road associations, livestock owners, timberland owners, environmental organizations, governmental resource agencies, and the general public through workshops, onsite technical assistance, demonstration projects and cost-share programs. To learn more about our services visit or call 831-464-2950.

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