[blog post interrupted by random clippings from Marika's trip summary!]
In June. Marika, Julia, Whitney, and I decided to go for a paddle in Elkhorn Slough. This was shortly after I found out my company was applying to work on a restoration project in the slough. In 1947, a harbor was built at the mouth of the slough to provide a safe haven for boats coming in and out. Unfortunately, constructing a permanent structure like a harbor limits the slough's ability to naturally manage itself by opening, closing, and moving north to south, depending on factors like inflows and sediment supply.
Since 1947, the slough has experienced massive erosion - even when we were there we could see big chunks of the marsh falling into the channel. Keeping the mouth of the slough wide open makes it so that the water moves in and out with the tide more quickly than it otherwise would. This makes sand and mud move back and forth more quickly. On the ocean side of the slough is a huge submarine canyon (right). This canyon is like a big sink - much of the sediment that comes out of Elkhorn Slough falls into the canyon and doesn't come back. I found out recently that my company will be working on the restoration project (that I'll be helping to manage!), which will look at different options to try to fix this problem. Getting rid of the harbor isn't really an option, so the main focus will be on importing sediment from other sources (to be determined) and placing it upstream in the slough to try and counteract erosion. The project is just starting, so more info on that later!
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2012
Time: 2 hours
Distance: ~5 miles