What’s a slough?

aerial view of South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (image credit: South Slough NERR)

South Slough is a 4,771-acre Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserve positioned on Coos Bay Estuary in Oregon (Picture credit score: South Slough NERR).

A slough is usually used to explain wetlands. Sloughs alongside the perimeters of rivers type the place the previous channel of the river as soon as flowed. These areas are additionally known as oxbows as a result of they have an inclination to type at a bend within the previous river mattress, making them appear to be the U-shaped collar positioned across the neck of an ox to which a plow is hooked up.

Alongside the West Coast, sloughs are sometimes named for the quiet, backwater elements of bays and due to this fact, they’re a part of the estuary, the place freshwater flows from creeks and runoff from land combine with salty ocean water transported by the tides.

There are two sloughs within the Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserve System (NERRS). First, Elkhorn Slough is positioned simply north of Monterey, California. Elkhorn Slough is called a preferred birding vacation spot with greater than 135 species of birds together with six which might be listed as threatened or endangered. Second, there may be the South Slough NERR positioned in southwestern Oregon. South Slough gives vital habitat for salmon, nice blue herons, bald eagles, migrating geese, elk, sea otters, oysters, and crabs.

Whereas, Elkhorn and South Slough share lots of the identical estuarine species, their climates and watersheds are fairly completely different. Elkhorn is way drier, and traditionally was set in a watershed of prairie, chaparral, and oak woodlands, whereas South Slough is wetter and closely wooded. Agriculture now surrounds Elkhorn Slough, and air pollution is a significant challenge, whereas timber harvest and related results are extra of a difficulty at South Slough. At each sloughs, the NERRS are working inside their neighborhood to attain sustainable practices that help wholesome estuaries.

NERRS is a community of 29 reserves across the U.S. representing distinctive coastal ecosystems. Established by Congress underneath the Coastal Zone Administration Act, the reserves are “dwelling laboratories” managed via a partnership between NOAA and coastal states and territories for long-term analysis, ecosystems monitoring, schooling, and coastal stewardship.