The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Elkhorn Slough Restoration: Restoration Science
Old maps like this one give us insight into the past uses
of the land. This map shows where parts of the Reserve
were altered to make freshwater habitat for duck hunting.

ESNERR Stewardship staff is committed to developing and implementing science-based management strategies. Project design begins with a review of published literature on habitat values and management or restoration techniques; goal setting is informed by historical ecology research and a review of existing constraints; and strategies are strengthened by the utilization of GIS-based habitat maps and information. Because habitat restoration is still an evolving field, when possible, management and restoration projects include an experimental design component.

Historical Ecology

Historical ecology is the recovery and synthesis of diverse, underutilized, and diminishing historical data sources, in order to make sense of past and present ecosystems. It is an emerging field which, in Northern California, has been pioneered by the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Historical Ecology ( program.

Historical ecology can help us understand past and current conditions, including how natural ecological and physical processes have functioned over long periods of time, and how present-day conditions have developed. Furthermore, historical ecology can help guide science-based restoration and management decisions, by helping us understand the restoration potential of various sites, and using history as a restoration reference. Working collaboratively with the research program, the Elkhorn Slough stewardship program researches and acquires copies of original maps, journals, surveys, botanical collections, archaeological data, and geologic cores from a variety of sources, and synthesizes the information in documents and public presentations, in order to reveal the past and help inform the future.

>> Check out our page of historical ecology tools you can use at home.

View some historical ecology products from the Reserve’s historical ecology project:


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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve