No Fear CHEER is HERE!


CHEER Beginnings

Founded on donations in 2003, CHEER was incorporated as a non-profit organization. In the first several months, the organization began building infrastructure. An experienced and talented entrepreneurial team dedicated to community improvement was put together. The team has negotiated conservation easements essential to pilot-project start-up and has identified and contacted program supporters. CHEER is now being supported by various funding opportunities for designated current and future projects. 

Our Mission & Philosophy

Coastal Habitat Education Environmental Restoration, also known as CHEER, is a registered 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization with a fresh take on environmental programming. Its mission is to restore coastal ecosystems but do so in a way that safeguards resource-based local economies. CHEER recognizes that varied interests are represented in local economies. It believes that assessing and reconciling these interests so that each group profits by cooperation in restoration efforts is the key to more effective environmental programming.





This watershed has created recreational activities, a great place to live and learn for generations. It is vitally important to protect and preserve the natural resources located in this watershed community! CHEER founding Board Members grew up in this watershed, as youth we fished, hunted and camped on local streams. CHEER has made a commitment to leave the watershed like we found it! We want to ensure future generations can enjoy what we once had! 



CHEER recognizes that the Pajaro River Watershed is home to the most important fish species in our region! The South-Central Coast Steelhead Trout is an anadromous species. This means this species is born in fresh water and migrates to the ocean upon reaching their juvenile stage. Due to diminishing populations in the early 1990's, The South-Central Coast Steelhead has been listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act as a "Threatened Species." 

Recent chemical spill in Uvas Creek! July 2017!

Recent chemical spill in Uvas Creek! July 2017!

As said in our mission statement, CHEER recognizes that varied interests are represented in local economies. It believes that assessing and reconciling these interests so that each group profits by cooperation in restoration efforts is the key to more effective environmental programming!

The South-Central Coast Steelhead acts as a key indicator species by requiring good to very good water quality. Through CHEER's Habitat Reclamation and Restoration efforts to create a sustainable ecosystem for Steelhead populations. Unfortunately, CHEER volunteers are discovering different negative impacts to our waterways! These include: garbage dumping, abandoned autos, boats, chemical dumping, tires etc! These issues create a sterile environment in our waterways, void of life! As CHEER takes on these daily battles to protect our water quality, we consistently find new problem areas which indicate that we are still in recovery and have yet to reach a point of environmental sustainability!

Our goal is to create "living streams and ecosystems" which are required by Steelhead to thrive! Make sure to visit each tab to find out how you can assist in safeguarding our resource-based local economies!




From a young age Herman has always been drawn to the outdoors! He spent most of his younger years creating a lifelong lasting mental map of rural Gilroy. His favorite activities growing up included: hunting, fishing, camping or pretty much any outdoor activity! After returning to Gilroy from a lengthy Poker Career, Herman found extensive damage had been done to the Pajaro River Watershed and decided to take a stand! His idea started with the simple motto of "leave it how we found it"! Having enjoyed the bountiful natural resources of Gilroy, Herman was disgusted by what he found upon his return. Fish populations had disappeared, toxic dumping was on the rise, and illegal garbage dumping was a regular occurrence. In 2003, Herman decided to create CHEER into a 501(c)3 NPO and in 2006 CHEER partnered with NOAA to reclaim and restore the Pajaro River Watershed habitat. NOAA biologist, John Ambrose, drew a line in the sand at Silva's Crossing on Uvas Creek in Gilroy. He claimed that location would be the epicenter in fighting the battle to reclaim and restore our fisheries! After 11 years CHEER now has the watershed in recovery and is continuing the hard fought battle to protect our natural resources!


President - Eleanor Villareal                                         Secretary - David Hamblin                                          Treasurer - Steve Guerriero

                                                     Mike Sanchez                                                             Chris Gonzalez

 CEO/EXEC. DIRECTOR - Herman Garcia                                                            CHIEF OPERATIONS DIRECTOR - Irma Batrez


The thousands of volunteers in the Pajaro River Watershed are the heart and soul of CHEER!