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The Elkhorn Slough Foundation - Clearing the Floodplain, Adapting to Change

Project summary

The Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF) works to protect land and water resources in the Elkhorn watershed and surrounding areas in Monterey County, California.  Impacts from climate change and sea level rise have increasing become management considerations.

The ESF has been responding to potential climate change impacts by working cooperatively to study and address salt marsh loss.  In addition to working with agencies and regional research facilities, ESF has been responding to climate change challenges by working to “clear the floodplain” in a way that will allow for migration of tidal marshes and constructing water control structures that can adapt to rising sea levels.  These efforts are exemplified in the Parsons Slough restoration project, an adaptive management intervention which aims to restore and maintain healthy marsh processes by constructing an underwater wall called a sill to correct ongoing tidal scour causing increased erosion in the Slough.

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Location / size of service area

The Elkhorn Slough Foundation serves the immediate Elkhorn watershed (about 45,000 acres or 70 square miles) in Monterey County, California.

Acres protected

ESF has a dozen conservation easements protecting about 300 acres.  Fee transactions include about 40 properties now totaling 3700 acres.

Total number of staff and/or board

The Elkhorn Slough Foundation employs 35 people.  Ten employees work for the land trust function.  Fifteen community volunteers serve on the board.

Total number of supporters

ESF has about 1,000 contributors.  Over 100 community volunteers assist with all kinds of projects.

Year established



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