The main goals of the Tidal Wetland Project are to:
(1) conserve existing high quality estuarine habitats
(2) restore and enhance degraded estuarine habitats
(3) restore the physical processes that support and sustain estuarine habitats.
Particular emphasis in the restoration planning process has been placed on the first goal, which aims to stop the ongoing marsh loss and estuarine habitat erosion in Elkhorn Slough.
Vision, Goals, Objectives, and Strategic Planning Principles for the Elkhorn Slough Tidal Wetland Plan
(7/29/05, Word doc, 70KB)
Over the past 150 years, human actions have altered the tidal, freshwater, and sediment processes that are essential to support and sustain Elkhorn Slough’s estuarine habitats.
Broad restoration strategies have been developed by the Tidal Wetland Project teams to conserve and restore Elkhorn Slough’s estuarine habitats. The first key restoration strategy aims to reduce interior marsh dieback and estuarine habitat erosion. The restoration alternatives included under this strategy propose to change the estuary’s entrance to reduce the tidal influence and habitat erosion and restore or add sediment to promote marsh growth. The next step for this strategy will be to make a decision about whether to pursue a large-scale restoration project for Elkhorn Slough based on ongoing technical evaluations.
The purpose of the second restoration strategy is to restore and enhance degraded estuarine habitats in Elkhorn Slough. These restoration alternatives include actions to restore marsh habitat in the Parsons Slough and North Marsh wetland complexes, enhance water quality conditions in degraded areas, and restore tidal brackish marsh habitats. The next steps will be to obtain funding for a Parsons Slough restoration project, priority research and monitoring activities, restoration planning for degraded wetland sites, and pilot restoration projects.
The implementation of restoration projects requires a thorough understanding of relevant regulations, technical and political feasibility, funding needs, stakeholder interests, and research gaps. Potential large-scale restoration projects to reduce interior marsh dieback and habitat erosion in Elkhorn Slough are being evaluated over the next few years using an ecosystem-based management approach. The analysis of options to modify the estuary’s entrance and add sediments to rebuild marshes will include predictions about changes to tidal hydrodynamics, morphology, estuarine habitats and species, water quality, socioeconomic values, and political constraints. Restoration planning has been initiated for the Parsons Slough wetland complex. Funding is needed to support restoration projects, priority research and monitoring efforts, and community involvement activities.