Trees/Urban Forestry

The Parks and Community Services Department manages the City's trees and urban forest. Trees provide so many benefits for the Watsonville community! They clean our air, provide shade and cooling, improve stormwater and water quality in our wetlands, make our streets and trails more enjoyable to walk and ride bicycles, increase property values, and capture atmospheric carbon which helps address global climate change.

Unfortunately there are many streets, sidewalks, parks, and neighborhoods that lack trees. Watsonville’s Urban Greening Plan, adopted by the City of Watsonville in 2012, called for an additional 40,000 trees to increase City’s currently very low tree canopy cover of 7.8%. This page summarizes the City's efforts to rise to this challenge. 

Learn about our Progress

In order to rise to this challenge, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the City of Watsonville, with the help of many local partners and community volunteers have begun to plant trees throughout the City.

In 2017 the City and Watsonville Wetlands Watch partnered together to receive a grant from the California Department of Fire and Forestry and the California Climate Investment Program to expand the tree planting effort. This project planted an additional 300 trees on streets and parks. 

Please visit for more information and how to get involved.

The Watsonville Community Forestry Project

In 2020, in partnership with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, the City was awarded a grant from Cal Fire for the Watsonville Community Forestry Project. This project will develop and implement comprehensive urban forest management activities designed to evaluate current urban forest resources, identify locations, opportunities, and needs for urban forest expansion activities, develop appropriate policies to sustain and enhance urban forest resources within the City of Watsonville over time, and implement urban forest expansion activities in a way that advances these efforts. The Parks and Community Services Department will work with local residents, city departments, community partners, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, and consultants to achieve project objectives.

Specific project objectives include:

  1. Develop an urban forest inventory for the City of Watsonville
  2. Develop an urban forest management plan, per CalFire guidelines
  3. Develop project designs and plans for at least 30 future street, neighborhood, and school tree plantings that can be implemented following the urban forest management plan creation
  4. Develop a City of Watsonville tree preservation ordinance
  5. Complete a resident survey to support the urban forest management plan and ordinance development
  6. Establish a tree canopy cover goal for the City
  7. In partnership with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, install 260 trees on City streets, parks, and neighborhoods during 20 public and local student education and outreach events that will also include surveying of residents
  8. In partnership with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, pilot resident neighborhood tree planting events and an adopt-a-tree tree stewardship program to engage City residents in urban forest stewardship and foster public interest and appreciation for urban forest expansion.

Once a tree inventory and canopy analysis is completed, DRG will help the City engage the community and stakeholders to start developing the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) to guide City tree policies and practices over the next 50 years.  By 2023, a tree protection ordinance will be drafted and presented to City Council along with the UFMP.  Throughout this time, the City will work with DRG and Watsonville Wetlands Watch to hold neighborhood planting events and pilot community tree stewardship models.  The City anticipates a lot of community engagement throughout this process so residents can give input into the development of the UFMP.

This project is consistent with past planning efforts such as the Urban Greening Plan (2012) and the newly adopted 2030 Climate Action Plan (2021).