mission of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation is to conserve and restore Elkhorn
Slough and its watershed.
We see Elkhorn Slough and its watershed protected forever—a working
landscape, where people, farming, industry, and nature thrive together. As
one of California’s last great coastal wetlands, Elkhorn Slough will remain a
wellspring of life and a source of inspiration for generations to come.
The Big Idea
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation aims to
conserve and restore Elkhorn Slough and its watershed. They’re currently
restoring habitat at 107-acre Sand Hill Farm, preventing pollution of estuary
waters, planting native grasses and oak trees, and providing a gateway to
thousands of acres of conserved land for wildlife and the community alike.
Erosion from the farm’s degraded slopes once caused road closures and
polluted the estuary’s sensitive waters, choking marine life and threatening
endangered species. The foundation reduced erosion by more than 90 percent in
their first phase of restoration. As an added benefit, by eliminating
groundwater extraction, they are conserving an estimated 58 million gallons
annually, replenishing depleted aquifers. Once the lands are fully restored,
they will support greater biodiversity and the return of wildlife, and serve
as a gateway to outdoor exploration, particularly for neighboring low-income
communities which lack green spaces.
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation is
undertaking a formidable restoration of the Sand Hill Farm property. When we
moved to the Elkhorn area in 1978, this property was a cattle ranch with a
sprinkling of oak trees and no erosion. We watched the conversion of this
marginal farmland to strawberry production—and most every winter since,
runoff has filled the wetlands with pollutants and sediment and flooded
neighbors. While we can now see stabilization, hard work is required to
protect the hillsides and estuary. The Elkhorn Slough Foundation has proven
repeatedly that it is up to the task.
- Kirk Schmidt