Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve Land Management Plan


Location: The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR) is an ecologically diverse 583 hectare (1,439 acre) protected area located on the eastern shore of the Elkhorn Slough estuary adjacent to the Monterey Bay, halfway between the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey, near the town of Moss Landing, California.

Purpose of Acquisition: The Elkhorn Slough Reserve was established in 1979. The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is the result of a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and CDFW. The Reserve is owned and managed by CDFW. NOAA provides funding for Research, Stewardship and Coastal Training Programs at the Reserve. Activities at the Reserve are conducted in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough Foundation.

Description*: The draft Land Management Plan (LMP) will contain descriptions, goals and objectives for the management of biological resources, reserve facilities, and the various Reserve programs.

Generally, the Reserve is focused on the protection of estuarine, freshwater, maritime chaparral, coastal prairie/scrub, and coast live oak habitats. In addition, the Reserve hosts approximately 50,000 visitors a year, including approximately 5,000 students engaged in educational programs and professional development workshops. The Research program includes both long term monitoring projects and short term experiments. The results gathered in both types of scientific investigations are used to inform management of the estuarine resources present at the site.

Environmental Review Process

Status: In Progress

Notice of Determination:

CEQAnet Project Information coming soon.

Management Plan Retention

Comments from the public are welcome regarding potential impacts associated with changes proposed by the LMP. The changes proposed are not yet completely defined, but shall be further defined as progress on the LMP continues.

An initial draft of the LMP has been submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for final editing. The LMP will be made available for a public comment period later this year. Check back to this web page for updates.

For more information, contact:

Dave Feliz, Reserve Manager
(831) 728-2822

When available, the hard copies of the management plan, including public comments and responses will be available for viewing during regular office hours (Monday- Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at:

Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve
1700 Elkhorn Road
Watsonville, CA 95076


Central Region - Fresno Office
1234 E. Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710

*Implementation of tasks needed to achieve management goals is dependent on the availability of staffing along with an adequate operations and maintenance budget.

Elkhorn Slough viewing boardwalk