Acknowledgements 5 executive summary

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Objective 1: Collect, archive, and disseminate consistent, high caliber data on critical ecosystem characteristics.
Strategies: 1. The Reserve will collecting high caliber, consistent data according to specified protocols, will archive them and make them readily available to any requestors. The Reserve will also annually update the Reserve webpage with tables and graphs summarizing trends. The Reserve’s long-term monitoring programs are summarized in Tables 9.1 through 9.6.

C. References

Noss RF (1990) Indicators for monitoring biodiversity: a hierarchical approach. Conservation Biology 4:355-364.

Ringold PL, Alegria J, Czaplewski RL, Mulder BS, Tolle T, Burnett K (1996) Adaptive monitoring design for ecosystem management. Ecological applications 6:745-747.
Vos P, Meelis E, Ter Kuers WJ (2002) A framework for the design of ecological monitoring programs as a tool for environmental and nature management. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 61:317-344.
Wilson JG (1994) The role of bioindicators in estuarine management. Estuaries 17:94-101.

Insert Monitoring Table Here

Insert Monitoring Table Here

Chapter X. ESNERR Goal # 8

Educate the Community about the Watershed and Inspire Them to Consider Environmental Conservation When Making Decisions Affecting Elkhorn Slough and Its Watershed
A. Introduction

The Reserve offers a mosaic of education programs that are designed to reach a variety of audiences through different venues using different delivery modes. Based on target audiences these programs can be grouped into four components:

  1. Coastal Training Program – reaching local and regional decision makers though workshops, workgroups, independent scientific review, distribution of information, and networking with experts.

  1. School Programs – current programs include: K-12 Teacher Professional Development, Reserve-based Field Experiences, Interactive Virtual Field Trips, Multicultural Outreach, K-12 and Non-formal Education Partnerships, and support of college and university courses, community service programs and student internships.

  1. Public Education – centering on the visitor center and five miles of trails, offering guided tours, special events, and opportunities for outreach to neighbors in the Elkhorn Slough watershed.

  1. Volunteer Program – trains a cadre of community volunteers to assist with the implementation of the other education programs and also serve to support the research, monitoring and restoration programs, and other aspects of the operation of the Reserve. (See Chapter XV, Volunteer Program Overview)

The challenge for the Reserve’s environmental education program is to offer entry level experiences for all ages with opportunities to take “courses” of greater depth and increasing levels of involvement.

The venues range from trails through oak woodlands, grasslands, riparian corridors, next to freshwater ponds, salt marsh, mudflats and the waters of the estuary, to an outdoor amphitheater, visitor center with exhibits and a bookstore, teaching laboratory, conference room with multi-media capabilities, and the virtual experience of the world wide web on a computer screen in a classroom or someone’s office.
The delivery modes range from self-guided hikes through a range of coastal habitats to docent lead tours, public events, school programs, and in-depth trainings and workshops.
The content ranges from nature and natural landscape appreciation to studies in natural history, historical ecology, environmental and restoration science, and resource management. Content is informed by the research and stewardship programs.
Priority topics/messages, optimum delivery modes, and target audiences are determined through strategic planning, (including needs assessments), in collaboration with other Reserve program coordinators and with input from appropriate community partners. General content is reviewed by appropriate experts and specific, current, in-depth topics are defined/informed by the habitat specific conservation goals and priorities of this management plan. Programs will have well-defined evaluation strategies that facilitate improvement of content and delivery modes and help to guide the professional development plans for Reserve staff and volunteers.
While implementing these education programs the Reserve will seek out opportunities to collaborate with local, state and national partners to benefit from sharing information and resources. The Education Coordinator will serve on state (DFG) and national (ERD) education committees that are relevant to the local efforts. The Education Program will fulfill obligations defined by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) Statewide Aquatic Education 5-year Plan and the national K-12 Estuary Education Program (KEEP) of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). Program content will address the Natural Resource Education Messages of CDFG. As we proceed with strategic planning we will refer to various guiding documents including the California Education on the Environment Initiative (, the DFG statewide plan for conservation education that is being developed by the new Office of Education and Outreach, (in progress, will be available at, and NOAA’s Education Plan (

B. Elkhorn Slough NERR Objectives and Strategies

Staff from the Reserve’s Education Program and Coastal Training Program are involved in the following objectives and strategies
We will gather information from appropriate references, workshops, research projects, and forums. Material will then be packaged in ways appropriate for the different target audiences, building on core concepts and themes in conservation, and delivered in a variety of ways to address a broad range of learning styles. We will practice basic principles of interpretation, (Tilden 1977, Beck and Cable 2002), and experiential learning modalities, (Kolb 1985), recognizing that people of all ages learn in a progression from the concrete to the abstract. Simply put, we learn by doing. This translates into field activities such as plankton tows, crab trap surveys, and water quality monitoring for students, volunteers, and the general public on tours; as well as direct field experiences for participants in Coastal Training Program workshops and public forums.
We will gather key reference material and make it available in the visitor center library and on the website. Information pieces will then be crafted by staff, volunteers or student interns, reviewed by senior interpretive staff, and made available through the different education components.

Table 10.1. Educational and communication tools available through three of the Reserve’s education programs. (Please see Appendix 3 for more details on CTP)

Public Education

Volunteer Program

School Programs

docent training

teacher training

public forums

docent enrichments

teacher enrichments

interpretive materials for self-guided tours

interpretive tools for docents to use on public tours

interpretive tools and activities for classroom or trails

fact sheets available in visitor center

material for docent reader

material for teacher curriculum


docent newsletter

electronic newsletter or bulletin board

video clips to show in visitor center exhibits

CD’s , DVD’s with multi-media background material to support training

CD’s, DVD’s with multi-media material to support curriculum

interactive computer in visitor center exhibits

interactive computer activities for home or office

interactive computer activities for the classroom



website, virtual field trips

Objective 1: Create and implement environmental education programs for school-aged children, visitors, our watershed neighbors, and decision makers.

  1. The Coastal Training Program will carry out education programs, which are defined by the CTP strategic plan (see Appendix 3) which are, in part, echoed in the habitat specific conservation goals and priorities of this management plan. In order to accomplish this CTP staff will:

      1. offer educational programs that target audiences on priority topics identified in the CTP strategic plan as informed by audience needs assessments and market analyses.

      2. with the help of the Coastal Training Network, generate materials and information for professionals, including fact sheets, white papers, peer reviewed publications, the Coastal Training Program website, etc.

      3. provide information for other education staff to use in generating materials appropriate for other audiences such as students, docents, teachers, and the general public

      4. the number of workshops and products will depend on funding level and information available. Efforts will be made to increase funding by leveraging partnerships as well as private and public grant support.

  1. The Education staff will continue to offer existing programs at a level that our current staff can support, setting aside time to engage in strategic planning. This may include:

      1. K-12 Teacher Professional Development, Reserve based Field Experiences, Interactive Virtual Field Trips, Multicultural Outreach, K-12 and nonformal education partnerships, and support of college and university courses, community service programs and student internships.

  1. The Education staff will complete a market analysis and needs assessment and convene an advisory committee to guide the development of a strategic plan. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. review the current environment in the public schools which will help to inform changes in Reserve programs to address these realities.

      2. clarify the specific niche that the Reserve education programs can fill in the local/regional environmental education community, review existing and potential new programs, prioritize audiences and messages, and define appropriate delivery modes. From this process we will match programs with existing staff.

      3. create strategies for acquiring funds and staff to support additional priority programs.

  1. The Volunteer staff will evaluate the overall program and work to improve the training and support of volunteers. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. revise the docent reader and update the volunteer training program content and presentations.

      2. coordinate with local volunteer programs to share resources and opportunities.

      3. cooperate with CDFG statewide volunteer coordination efforts. (See Chapter XV for more details.)

  1. The Education staff will offer an informative and enjoyable experience for the public through the Visitor Center. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Maintain current exhibits and create new and changeable exhibits featuring the habitats of the Slough.

      2. feature topics prioritized by strategic discussions with other Reserve program leads and the Education Advisory Committee.

      3. create background material, including internally generated brochures and fact sheets, which will be made available in the reading area, bookstore, and docent library.

      4. keep staff and volunteers up-to-date with information and interpretive techniques/tools through regular meetings and enrichments.

  1. The Education staff will train volunteers to give informative public tours through the 9-week volunteer training course and follow-up enrichments.

  1. The Education staff will strategically decide which on-site and off-site special events to participate in each year based on priority messages, audiences, and levels of staff and funding.

  1. The Education staff will foster a watershed identity in the community and establish ourselves as the caretaker/spokesperson for the habitats and species in the estuary and watershed. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. include watershed neighbors in existing events and activities through targeted communications.

      2. work with other Reserve Programs and the staff of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to acquire funding for and hire a Community Outreach Coordinator who will take on tasks prioritized through a strategic planning process but may include the following:

        1. Coordinate events on and off-site specifically designed for neighbors in the watershed.

        2. Develop a watershed welcome packet to be distributed to all neighbors in the watershed.

        3. Produce a watershed newsletter to keep people informed of current events and issues effecting the watershed and slough.

        4. Work on other actions defined in habitat goals that require community outreach efforts.

C. References
Tilden, Freeman. 1977. Interpreting Our Heritage. Third Edition. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.
Beck, Larry and Ted Cable. 2002. Interpretation for the 21st Century. Second Edition. Sagamore Publishing, Champaign, IL.
Kolb, David A. 1985. Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Prentice Hall, NJ

Chapter XI. ESNERR Goal #9

Maintain a Viable Base for ESNERR Programs: Organization, Budget, and Facilities
A. Introduction

In order to successfully protect, restore, research, and educate, we must provide a strong organizational and infrastructure foundation upon which these activities can build. Important conservation goals can only be fully achieved when the staffs working on them have a productive and safe environment in which to work, as well as the resources and tools necessary to do their jobs. The rationale is simple: If an organization is plagued with unsafe or uncomfortable working conditions, low morale, bad communications, disorganization, too few funds, a poor public image, or inadequate facilities, it is less able to accomplish its mission.

B. ESNERR Objectives & Strategies

All staff are involved in the following objectives and strategies.
Objective 1. Maintain a productive, safe, and efficient ESNERR work environment.

  1. The Administration staff will train, motivate, and evaluate staff. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Create and embrace opportunities for professional development and training.

      2. Follow state-mandated and ESNERR policies that ensure fairness and appropriate behavior.

      3. Provide safety and emergency training and information.

      4. Evaluate staff performance and develop annual work plans.

      5. Express appreciation for ESNERR staff and volunteers.

  1. The Administration staff will facilitate team-building, information exchange, and strategic planning. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Conduct all-staff (ESNERR and ESF) retreats and staff meetings.

      2. Conduct regular meetings to revisit integrated ESNERR goals, strategies, and activities.

      3. Encourage regular and effective communication between ESNERR and ESF staff.

  1. The Administration staff will procure and administer Reserve funding. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Write grants to various funding entities and prepare requests for State funding as needed.

      2. Effectively track and administer grants, budgets, and match.

  1. The Reserve will operate a “well-oiled machine.” In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Maintain organized files, image media, maps, data, and other archives that are accessible to others as is appropriate or needed.

      2. Maintain organized work and storage spaces.

      3. Secure funding for a staff member or contractor to organize and maintain the Reserve’s media (video/DVD, photo/slide/digital images, etc.) and historical archives.

      4. Provide up-to-date and sufficient information technology support (computer, networks, internet, wireless communication, software, etc.) to staff.

Objective 2. Maintain a visible and positive ESNERR image.

  1. The Reserve will seek interaction with and input from professional colleagues, both regionally and nationally. In order to accomplish this we will:

  1. Attend, participate, and present at meetings and conferences as is feasible.

  2. Maintain effective communications with colleagues through telephone and email.

  1. The Reserve will maintain good communications with the general public and with citizen organizations working within the Elkhorn Slough Watershed. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Respond to general telephone, mail, and email.

      2. Attend meetings and functions of citizen organizations as is feasible.

      3. Develop an integrated communications and outreach plan.

      4. Pursue funding for a communications staff position. This new position will produce a Reserve newsletter, site brochure, and press releases, as well as prepare and give presentations.

  1. The Reserve will support partner organizations, with special emphasis on DFG, NERR, and ESF, and actively participate in appropriate partner-related activities. In order to accomplish this we will:

      1. Prepare various articles for and give presentations to partner organizations.

      2. Participate in working groups, attend meetings and conference calls, and maintain good communications with partner organizations.

Objective 3. Maintain, repair, and construct ESNERR facilities and infrastructure.
The presence and maintenance of certain structures is essential to all programs on the Reserve. In order to provide workspace, allow for public and scientific access, and maintain habitats, facilities must be constructed and maintained. Often, there is a close connection between facilities and stewardship. For example, tide gates must be maintained to prevent flooding a county road and also to provide proper water depth for feeding birds. Many of the “maintenance” objectives below have both an operational and a stewardship component. Funding and staffing shortages are the largest barriers to implementing the Reserve’s maintenance and construction strategies.

  1. The Reserve will seek funding for the maintenance and repair of existing facilities and, if successful, will pursue the objectives listed below.

      1. Maintain existing buildings. The visitor center was constructed in 1985 and is showing significant wear and tear, especially on the exterior. Laminated wood doors are peeling apart, paint is peeling, and wood has dry rot and termite damage. The garage and maintenance shop was also constructed in 1985 and is showing significant signs of wear and weathering. The administration building was constructed in 1993 and is now due for repairs. The conference room floor is peeling, exterior doors are warped, window screen are ripped, walls need patching and painting.

      2. Investigate options to improve building security and seek funding for and implement recommended solutions. In order to protect Reserve equipment and resources, an improved security system is needed.

      3. Maintain native landscaping around buildings and modify landscape plans as needed. Native landscaping requires weeding, mowing, and pruning for aesthetics and to maintain access along walkways and buildings.

      4. Upgrade and maintain the Reserve’s communication infrastructure. With the rapid evolution of technology, the Reserve must find ways to stay current in order to function and interact efficiently with each other and with partner institutions. There is a growing need for ongoing, on-site technical support to both troubleshoot problems and to help plan for and implement new technologies. A new Information Technology staff position is necessary to achieve this.

      5. Maintain and repair the Reserve’s public drinking water system, freshwater ponds, and wildlife drinking guzzlers. Humans and wildlife require fresh, safe water to drink. In 2004/2005, CDFG installed a state-of-the-art ozonation system and new pumps to treat and distribute the public drinking water. However, the original pipelines that run for miles throughout the Reserve still need to be mapped, repaired, or replaced. In an area where the groundwater table has been over-tapped and freshwater springs and creeks no longer flow, special challenges arise to provide drinkable water for all.

      6. Upgrade the Reserve’s septic sewage system. Currently, the Reserve’s septic system is adequate, but as public use, programs, and facilities grow, it is anticipated that it will need to be expanded.

      7. Repair access roads and trails. Reserve roads are badly eroded and some are not properly constructed. In winter, staff cannot access certain areas of the Reserve for maintenance, research, habitat restoration, and emergency deliveries (e.g. sand for sandbagging). Trucks regularly get stuck on wet, unsurfaced roads causing damage to vehicles and loss of time and contracts.

      8. Replace Reserve boundary fencing and boundary signs. Various sections of the Reserve boundary are unfenced or have fencing in disrepair. Some fenced areas have no signs to designate the boundary. Fencing and boundary signs are necessary to decrease trespass and protect Reserve resources.
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