Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Coastal Processes

Estuaries are home to an wide variety of organisms and represent delicate ecosystems. The Elkhorn Slough is the site of numerous human activities, including agriculture, recreation, transportation, fishing and energy production. With so many user groups struggling to coexist in the slough with as little disruption of the natural environment as possible, several essential questions arise. Do these activities add additional nutrients to the slough? Are they changing the delicate balance of life in the slough? Is nutrient loading a problem in this watershed? Where do the nutrients that arrive in this watershed originate from? What can be done to alleviate problems that may occur? This online case study will help students examine these questions.

Web resources

MBARI Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough (LOBO)
This comprehensive resource is the main link to the LOBO project. It contains a wealth of information relative to this case study, including the goals of the project, background information on the Elkhorn Slough, useful links to other data resources, and descriptions of the technology and people involved in the project.

Elkhorn Slough Foundation
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation is a nonprofit, member-supported organization working to conserve and restore Elkhorn Slough and its watershed. Their home page provides a map, photos, and information about the variety of wildlife abundant in the slough, as well and slough news and events.

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 26 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. This Web site provides information about research projects and conservation efforts in the slough.

SIMoN—Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
SIMoN is an integreated, long-term program that takes an ecosystem approach to identify and understand changes to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which includes the Elkhorn Slough. This Web site provides an excellent overview of the estuarine environment, as well as specific projects currently underway.

Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System
The Central California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) is a new initiative and part of the national ocean observing system, the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The mission of CeNCOOS is to coordinate and support the development and implementation of a regional ocean observing system, which provides data and data products to a diversity of end users.

California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS)
The California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) is a program of the Office of Water Use Efficiency (OWUE), California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that manages a network of over 120 automated weather stations in the state of California. Data available from Station #19, Castroville, can be used to correlate weather processes with Nitrogen in the slough.

Elkhorn Slough Tidal Processor
Data available from this tide chart can be used to correlate tidal cycles with Nitrogen in the slough.

Publications from Lisa Adams and George Matsumoto
Adams, L. and G.I. Matsumoto. 2009. Enhancing Ocean Literacy using Real-Time Data. Oceanography. 22(2):8-9.
Adams, L. and G.I. Matsumoto. 2007. Investigating Coastal Processes and Nitrate Levels in the Elkhorn Slough using Real-Time Data. Oceanography. 20(1): 200-204.

Rutgers COOL Classroom Human Impact Adventures: Hudson River Plume
Where does river water end up? Find out as you journey through the Hudson River watershed and out into the ocean. Along the way, you will discover how something microscopic can impact clams, fish, and other organisms hundreds to thousands of times their size. This activity from Rutgers University is a rather involved lesson but has some neat videos/visuals and classroom hands-on activities.

KQED Quest: Elkhorn Slough Exploration
A KQED Multimedia Series Exploring Northern California Science, Environment and Nature.

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Last updated: Jun. 09, 2010