“Where seabirds & marine mammals thrive”
Elkhorn Slough is an exceptional ecosystem on the central California coast providing a key linkage between land and sea. The slough harbors California’s largest tract of tidal salt marsh outside San Francisco Bay. Elkhorn Slough tidal habitats encompass extraordinary biological diversity, providing critical habitat for more than 135 aquatic bird, 550 marine invertebrate, and 102 fish species. The Elkhorn Slough is also home for sea lions, harbor seals, and California sea otters. More than 200 different bird species use the slough as a resting spot during their annual migration. The upland habitats within the watershed include three of the top ten most imperiled U.S. habitats: freshwater wetlands, coastal prairie, and maritime chaparral. These systems are amazingly diverse, coastal prairie being the most species rich grasslands in north America. Along with providing habitat for a diverse range of life, wetlands provide a critical service to the environment. Wetlands provide a buffer from land to sea – protecting the water from soil erosion and the land by reducing the impact of flooding. As natural filters, wetlands can remove impurities from the water before it enters our streams and oceans. Wetlands also have been proven to be carbon sequesters -- removing and storing greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere, slowing the onset of global warming.
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Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Reserve
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