MOSS LANDING—The Elkhorn Slough Foundation recently acquired a key wetland property along Moro Cojo Slough, a major tributary of the larger Elkhorn Slough.
The 34-acre tract expands the foundation’s holdings in that area to 450 acres. The foundation has protected more than 4,200 acres of conservation lands in the Elkhorn Slough watershed.
Those organizations will now work to restore habitat, and implement water quality improvements on the newly acquired property. The California Ocean Protection Council will aid the project with funding.
The wetlands are located in Moss Landing and Castroville, south of Elkhorn Slough, adjoining Sea Mist Farms, a division of Ocean Mist Farms.
The extended Tottino family agreed to sell the property for the wetland restoration. The family is known for helping to establish the artichoke industry in Castroville and the lower Salinas Valley.
This project brings the conservation and farming communities together to improve water quality flowing into Monterey Bay.
Coastal Conservation and Research and Central Coast Wetlands Group have worked with Ocean Mist Farms for the past decade and a half to improve inflows to the wetlands of Moro Cojo Slough and the lower Salinas River.
Elkhorn Slough Foundation Executive Director Mark Silberstein said the acquisition will lead to improved water quality, habitat restoration, increased percolation and carbon capture and storage.
“The Elkhorn Slough Foundation is convinced that the collaboration of farmers, scientists and conservationists is the most productive path to meeting our mutual needs,” he said.
Wetlands are known to filter and clean water from contaminants such as nitrates and other nutrients that come from farm runoff before it reaches Monterey Bay. They also trap amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In addition, wetlands provide critical habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife.
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation is currently restoring 20 acres of degraded tidal marshlands in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve to accommodate rising sea levels.
For information, visit elkhornslough.org