Research Reserve Restoration Funds Strengthen Tribal Partnership
The Takeaway: California’s Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve was awarded $1.3 million to safeguard habitat and bolster stewardship efforts in a partnership with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.
An intermingling of fresh and salt water creates rich, diverse habitat at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is home to hundreds of bird species as well as the threatened southern sea otter and endemic Olympia oysters. The impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise, now threaten its wetlands. A $1.3 million award from the State of California’s Ocean Protection Council will enable the research reserve to restore 30 acres of marsh and three acres of prairie, and to recruit 50,000 native Olympia oysters. With this award the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, a steward of the land for centuries, becomes a key project partner.
Tribal band members will focus on oyster restoration and on writing educational and outreach materials, which will center on indigenous knowledge and ancestral stewardship of the slough. Grant funding will aid the Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s Native Stewardship Corps in employing these workers.
These efforts continue the work completed in August 2018 to raise 61 acres of former salt marsh to an elevation that allows plants to return and to keep pace with projected sea level rise. (2021)
Partners: Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, California Ocean Protection Council, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve