Changes in a California Estuary is a comprehensive summary of 80 years of scientific research on Elkhorn Slough. The book's 280 pages are profusely illustrated with 200 charts, graphs, photographs, and maps, many in color. Its 27 authors cover the waterfront – and more. There are chapters on geology, climate, hydrography, soils, archaeology and prehistory, history of land use, primary producers, invertebrates, fishes, birds, mammals, biogeochemical cycling, land use and contaminants, and management issues; 8.5 x 11 inches. The book is available for sale in the Visitor Center Bookstore.
Changes in a California Estuary is jointly produced by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is owned and operated by the California Department of Fish and Game. This profile is one of a series developed for the 26 National Estuarine Research Reserves. Funding was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Patricia Price Peterson Foundaton, Acacia Foundation, Lysbeth Anderson, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Dr. Gary Klee, Professor of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, has published a review of the new book "Changes in a California Estuary: A Profile of Elkhorn Slough" in the Journal Coastal Management. Gary has permitted us to excerpt a portion of his review below.
Jane Caffrey, Martha Brown, W. Breck Tyler, and Mark Silberstein (eds). Changes in a California Estuary: A Profile of Elkhorn Slough. 2002. Moss Landing, California: Elkhorn Slough Foundation. 280 pp. Softcover. [No ISBN number; Available only from Elkhorn Slough Foundation, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA 95076; 831-728-5939; www.elkhornslough.org]
Reviewed by Dr. Gary A. Klee, Professor
Department of Environmental Studies
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95l92
Elkhorn Slough, one of the remaining significant saltwater wetlands on the Pacific flyway, is located on the central coast of California – 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of San Francisco, and 32 kilometers (20 mi) north of Monterey. Though relatively small compared to the state’s two largest estuaries (San Francisco and Tomales Bays), Elkhorn Slough is environmentally and historically very significant, and a national treasure worth studying and protecting. Hence, the reason it is included in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
Scientists have been examining Elkhorn Slough since the 1920s, but until now, there was no one extensive publication that summarized the “bits and pieces” of information. Now, with Changes in a California Estuary: A Profile of Elkhorn Slough, students and researchers can turn to this attractive “A through Z” volume and use it as a base reference for their own studies of this region, or for comparative analysis of wetlands in other parts of the world.
This edited book was written by a mixture of twenty-seven scientists, social scientists, and resource agency personnel that have been, and continue to be, directly involved with research and protection of Elkhorn Slough....
Each major chapter is written by one or more specialists in their field, yet their writings are nicely tied together by two overriding themes: (1) change [estuaries are constantly changing due to natural and human impacts]; (2) significant human impact [estuarine and terrestrial ecosystems are dramatically impacted by human activity]. In other words, any attempt to study the Elkhorn Slough watershed without incorporating how humans have perceived (i.e., environmental perception), used (i.e., natural resource use), and valued (i.e., environmental values & ethics) would be incomplete, and thus, inaccurate. One of the reasons that I have already required this book for my students in EnvS 117 Human Ecology is that it so nicely illustrates how scientists, social scientists, and natural resource managers must come together if a piece of land is to be understood and managed to the best of human ability. Cooperation, not traditional professional territoriality and jealousy, is essential for proper land management. Of course, this goal is easier said than done! But, it is clear that the folks at Elkhorn Slough have made several significant strides in this direction, and provide a great example for others, at other wetland watersheds, to follow.
The book also does a fantastic job setting the stage for future research. Each major chapter concludes with specific areas of research and management strategies that need to be pursued. More so than most books that have a “Further Research Needed” section, this one really spells out clearly for masters and doctoral candidates what is needed next in terms of research. This is exactly what I was hoping the Elkhorn Slough Foundation was going to do. As a local university professor that is constantly asked, “Professor Klee, what can I do for a masters thesis topic?” This book has just made my life easier! I can now simply answer, “If you are interested in coastal resource management issues, especially as they relate to wetlands, buy this book. It will give you a wealth of specific research possibilities. Pick a topic that fits your interest, skills, and time-table; check-in with Elkhorn’s Research Coordinator for updates and possibilities; if all systems go, then get launched! Do not just lie on your pillow trying to dream up a topic! The folks at Elkhorn Slough have already identified what needs to be done.”
...[This book is] a major, major accomplishment and addition to the scientific and environmental literature. My hat is off to the writers and editors of this wonderful book. Job well done!