Coast live oak woodlands are common in the Elkhorn Slough watershed. At Elkhorn Slough NERR, the overstory is made up exclusively of coast live oak, and common native understory plants include poison oak, sword fern, California blackberry, hedge nettle, snowberry, coffeeberry, beeplant, and miner’s lettuce. The California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System lists over 200 animal species, including mammals and a wide range of birds, that live in or otherwise use coastal oak woodlands in Monterey County. In the Elkhorn Slough watershed these include nesting white tailed kites and golden eagles, and seasonally, Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamanders. According to California Partners in Flight and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (2002), oak woodlands have the richest wildlife species abundance of any habitat in California, and may rank among the top three habitat types in North America for bird richness.
While oak woodlands are the dominant trees in the watershed, eucalyptus, conifers and riparian woodlands can also be found.
We are currently featuring the following slough life from this habitat: