Ocean Protection Council awards $1.3 million in funding to support Elkhorn Slough restoration

We are thrilled to announce that the California Ocean Protection Council has approved $1.3 million in new funding to support restoration of Elkhorn Slough! This restoration will take place on the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with NOAA and with support from the Elkhorn Slough Foundation.

More than 90% of California’s wetlands have vanished over the past century. Today Elkhorn Slough features the most extensive salt marshes in California south of San Francisco Bay, yet without intervention the remaining marshes are projected to be lost within 50 years due to rising sea levels, subsidence, and tidal erosion. This new funding, generated by California’s Proposition 68, will be used to restore a diversity of species and habitats in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve including native oysters, eelgrass beds, coastal grasslands, and tidal salt marsh.

Oysters in Elkhorn Slough are at dire risk of local extinction, with no successful reproduction in the wild since 2012. To restore these vanishing filter feeders, scientists have pursued a novel approach, capitalizing on techniques used by commercial oyster farmers. They will bring adult oysters from the slough to the SJSU/MLML Aquaculture Facility, where they will be fed and warmed until they produce larvae. The larvae settle out on clam shells provided by the aquaculturists. When they are dime-sized, the baby oysters will be reintroduced to the restored tidal creeks. 

Lean more about Elkhorn Slough and this exciting new restoration project at www.elkhornslough.org.