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Resource Management Plans
Watershed Conservation Plan
South Slough NERR Cooperative Plan for Watershed Conservation
In 1999, the Reserve completed the South Slough NERR Cooperative Plan for Watershed Conservation to guide habitat acquisition by the Reserve within the context of local and regional conservation efforts. The Cooperative Plan was prepared with the assistance of an advisory group (Cooperative Plan Advisory Committee) made up of representatives of the communities served by the South Slough NERR. The plan was developed to address inconsistencies between Reserve programmatic mandates and the habitats found within the Reserve’s administrative boundary. The present South Slough NERR administrative boundaries do not adequately advance the NERRS goals of both representing estuarine habitat types for the Lower Columbia bioregion (Columbia River to Cape Mendocino), and maintaining them as long-term sites for research and education. The current boundaries include six of the eleven estuarine habitats that typify South Slough NERR’s bioregion. The Reserve would be in a better position to implement watershed scale research within the Reserve if it managed, or participated in management of the upper portions of sub-basins tributary to the South Slough estuary.
 
Virtually all water enters the Reserve through lands for which the Reserve has no management responsibility. In addition, third parties continue to hold mineral rights to lands, which are under Reserve management. South Slough NERR can best serve its mission by acquiring management responsibility of lands primarily in the South Slough watershed from willing landowners through a variety of fee-simple and less than fee-simple means.
 

Habitat Restoration Plan
Habitat restoration at the South Slough NERR is intended to improve the ecological integrity and representative character of the Reserve, provide habitat for threatened and endangered species, and address information gaps in the science of habitat restoration. A Habitat Restoration Plan for the Reserve will establish the need for habitat restoration, identify restoration sites, and describe restoration strategies, priorities and timelines.
A significant element of the Habitat Restoration Plan will be its integration with the NERRS Restoration Science Program (RSP). The RSP, still under development, is designed to support any number of restoration planning and monitoring actions related to restoration efforts at NERRS sites, and is aimed at improving the science of habitat restoration. When fully implemented, the RSP will likely influence the priorities of Reserve’s restoration plan. South Slough NERR staff is participating in the development of strategies to implement the RSP.
The Habitat Restoration Plan will also benefit from other NERRS-supported programs, including the coastal watershed habitat classification and habitat inventory initiatives currently under development. In addition, an initiative to map and analyze land use and habitat change holds significant promise for providing the plan with historic context for habitat alterations in the Reserve.
 
In establishing the need for restoration at the Reserve, the Habitat Restoration Plan will outline the habitat attributes and natural processes significantly altered by human activities. The plan will describe the direct and indirect effects of those alterations on the physical and ecological processes within the Reserve and the South Slough watershed, and on human health and the local and regional economy.
 
Lessons learned from the multiple projects implemented and monitored as part of the WTRP, as well as site and ecosystem analyses completed as part of the Site Profile of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, will be applied to the development of the Reserve’s restoration strategy. The roles of volunteers and community participation will be defined for each project and opportunities for educational activities, interpretation, and public outreach will be included in project planning.

Invasive Species Control Plan
An Invasive Species Control Plan for South Slough NERR will identify the plant and animal species that most significantly affect the ecological integrity of the Reserve, as well as those affecting the South Slough and Coos watersheds. Because invasive species spread so readily and honor no boundaries, the plan will also address invasive species not yet present in the Coos estuary but which have the potential for becoming established. For that same reason the Invasive Species Control Plan must be developed in partnership with county, state and national invasive species control efforts. Since invasive species are frequently addressed as part of habitat restoration projects, the Invasive Species Control Plan will be developed in coordination with the Reserve’s Habitat Restoration Plan. The plan will also benefit from the NERRS-supported programs and initiatives previously described.
 
Areas of invasive species infestation will be mapped using GIS in order to evaluate control efforts undertaken by South Slough NERR and partners. A control strategy will be developed for each of the identified invasive species, prioritizing a control strategy based on the levels of infestation and of ecosystem damage, ecosystem damage potential, and rate of spread.
 
Public outreach and education is critical to control the spread of invasive species. Similar to the Habitat Restoration Plan, invasive species control strategies will be developed to include multiple levels of community participation.