Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve

The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. The Slough is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of San Francisco, California on the central shore of Monterey Bay.Coordinates: 36°49′11″N 121°44′18″W / 36.81972°N 121.73833°W / 36.81972; -121.73833[1] The Reserve is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is managed as Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve by the California Department of Fish and Game.


The Mission of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is to ensure the perpetual health of ecosystems in Elkhorn Slough and the surrounding watershed through preservation, restoration, research, information exchange and education with particular emphasis on the Research Reserve.[2] The approximately 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) Reserve hosts programs that promote education, research, and conservation in Elkhorn Slough. The award winning visitor center has exhibits and is a trailhead for five miles (8 km) of trails that meander through oak woodlands, calm tidal creeks, and freshwater marshes.[3] It is also a popular spot for kayaking and birding.[4]

The Reserve's visitor center is located at 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA 95076.[5]

Entrance fee and hours

The Reserve and Visitor Center are open Wednesday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free to the Visitor Center and picnic areas.

The Visitor Center features exhibits about the birds, plants, animals and marine life of the watershed. Naturalists provide information about the Slough, and there are guided nature walks on weekends led by volunteers.

To walk the trails there is a $4 day-use fee (cash or check, no credit cards) for adults 16 and older; children are free. Entry is also free with a California hunting or fishing license. A one-year pass is available for $20.75.[6]


External links

  • Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR)
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