Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF)

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The Elkhorn Slough Foundation, established in 1982, is both a land trust and a partner to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. The two organizations work together with the community, government agencies and other organizations. The foundation took responsibility as a Land Trust in 1997 to become managers of nearly 4,000 acres in the Elkhorn watershed and have been directly involved in the restoration of key habitats including tidal wetlands, coastal prairie, oak woodlands, freshwater ponds, riparian corridors and maritime chaparral.

The mission of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF) is to conserve and restore the Elkhorn Slough and it's watershed[1]. ESF's conservation efforts focus on four main areas: land acquisition, education, science, and restoration.

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Land Acquisitions

The Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF) currently owns the largest amount of land in the Elkhorn Slough watershed. The Foundation owns approximately 2,600 acres and manages an additional 1,000 acres (citation needed).

Elkhorn Slough Protected Lands

Partner agencies that assist with land purchasing:


The ESF offers educational opportunities in hopes of promoting conservation and awareness of issues impacting the local natural resources. Opportunites are available to students, teachers, general public, and decision makers.

Features of the Educational Program :

  • visitor center
  • lab to explore microscopic organisms
  • interactive teacher workshops
  • fields trips accommodating kindergarten to high school

The Coastal Training Program educates decision makers from all parts of the community. This crucial program works to educate key decision makers on the importance of preserving the Elkhorn Slough ecosystem.

Science and Research

Science and research are critical to learning more about Elkhorn Slough. The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR) is the hub of research at the Slough. ESF and ESNERR are partners in supporting outreach, education and research at Elkhorn Slough. ESF offers a wide variety of opportunities to students to conduct research or participate in internships. Graduate research fellowships that are focused on improving coastal stewardship are also offered to any students interested[2]. This program gives students the opportunity to perform research that helps people to better understand issues at a local, regional and national level. Graduate research fellowship grants are available to students enrolled in a full-time master's or doctoral program with an accredited university.

ESF Restoration Projects

Elkhorn Slough Tidal Wetland Project:This project was formed in 2004 as a collaborative effort to involve over one hundred estuarine habitat stakeholders in ecosystem management. The TWP aims to develop and implement strategies to conserve and restore estuarine habitats in the Elkhorn Slough watershed. Those involved include coastal resource managers, scientific experts, representatives from key regulatory and jurisdictional entities, leaders of conservation organizations, and community members.

Tidal Wetland Restoration Projects:

  • Parsons Slough is currently being restored through the construction of a sill (underwater wall) to slow the movement of water out of the slough in order to decrease the loss of marshland.


  1. Elkhorn Slough Foundation: [http://www.elkhornslough.org/esnerr/index.htm
  2. Graduate Research Fellowships with the Elkhorn Slough Foundation:http:http://www.elkhornslough.org/research/grf_main.htm

Elkhorn Slough Acquired Lands Map