ESNERR Stewardship staff is committed to developing and implementing science-based management strategies. Project design begins with a review of published literature on habitat values and management or restoration techniques; goal setting is informed by historical ecology research and a review of existing constraints; and strategies are strengthened by the utilization of GIS-based habitat maps and information. Because habitat restoration is still an evolving field, when possible, management and restoration projects include an experimental design component.
Historical ecology is the recovery and synthesis of diverse, underutilized, and diminishing historical data sources, in order to make sense of past and present ecosystems. It is an emerging field which, in Northern California, has been pioneered by the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Historical Ecology (http://www.sfei.org/HEP) program.
Historical ecology can help us understand past and current conditions, including how natural ecological and physical processes have functioned over long periods of time, and how present-day conditions have developed. Furthermore, historical ecology can help guide science-based restoration and management decisions, by helping us understand the restoration potential of various sites, and using history as a restoration reference. Working collaboratively with the research program, the Elkhorn Slough stewardship program researches and acquires copies of original maps, journals, surveys, botanical collections, archaeological data, and geologic cores from a variety of sources, and synthesizes the information in documents and public presentations, in order to reveal the past and help inform the future.
View some historical ecology products from the Reserve’s historical ecology project: