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.