Elkhorn Slough Designated as Globally Important Wetland

February 1, 2019

A harbor seal and birds at Elkhorn Slough.

A harbor seal at Moss Landing in the Elkhorn Slough. Credit: Gordon Shukwit / Creative Commons

This World Wetlands Day, we are celebrating our recent designation of Elkhorn Slough as a “wetland of international importance” under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 

Elkhorn Slough joined 38 other wetland sites in the United States and more than 2,330 sites worldwide in a network of globally important wetlands designated under the world’s oldest environmental treaty dedicated to a single ecosystem. The convention was signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971,and almost 90 percent of U.N. member states have since adopted the treaty. 

The designation of Elkhorn Slough as a Ramsar site was approved by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year.

A frog in the water.

A frog finds a good place to hide at Elkhorn Slough. Credit: Allan Hack / Creative Commons

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is administered by NOAA and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Elkhorn Slough Foundation nominated the estuary for Ramsar recognition. The NERR has created opportunities for conservation and enjoyment of the area, contributing to its health and vitality. These efforts have included a $6.5 million, 61-acre tidal wetland project restoring drowning marshes to elevations needed to support tidal marsh habitat that will withstand changes in sea level over the next century.

A sea otter at Elkhorn Slough.

Credit: Robert Shea / Creative Commons

Learn more about Elkhorn Slough and the sea otters that attract attention to it in our recent story “Serenity in the slough: Sea otters lure the world to tiny coastal town.”