A Wildlife Smorgasbord on Monterey Bay: Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Professional Review and Guide
"The fins of leopard and smoothhound sharks cut through the shallow ribbons of water in Elkhorn Slough as shorebirds feed nearby. In the main channel, dozens of sea otters groom and feed while harbor seals bask on the muddy banks. Tucked on the edge of Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough winds inland almost 7 miles through some of the richest and rarest habitats in California. More than 2,500 acres of tidal salt marshes and freshwater marshes are protected within the watershed. Coastal oak woodlands, grasslands, and rare coastal maritime chaparral are found in the uplands. This mosaic of water, mudflats, and sandy hillsides was created as an ancient river cut through the sandy plain, creating the slough and adjoining Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon before the San Andreas Fault cut off its flow to the east. Today only seasonal creeks drain into the slough but the daily tidal flow from Monterey Bay brings fresh nutrients to the microscopic plants and animals that, in turn, feed hundreds of species of wildlife."