Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Partnership Moves Forward


And a great relationship was built!

After working together over 2 1/2 years, ICE finished its tenure with an interagency team forging new transportation mitigation practices in California's Central Coast.


Their Goal:

To develop advanced mitigation for transportation projects within the Elkhorn Slough Watershed and make their ideas available as a template for others.


Why Here?

Elkhorn Slough (the Slough), found just south of Santa Cruz, California, is home to the 6,000-foot deep Monterey Submarine Canyon.  Large enough to cradle the Grand Canyon, this underwater trough stretches inland to the shores of the historic fishing community of Moss Landing.  With the combination of plummeting ocean depths near the shore, along with tidal marshes, and inland brackish lagoons, one of the premier aquatic and avian habitats in the world was created.  Because this area is also home to increasing humantiy and roadways, transportation and environmental specialists joined with a regional land trust to pilot a new idea. This new idea included measures to more effectively conserve and restore lands in the Slough as an integral part of building and repairing its regional roads.

Through sponsorship by Caltrans' District 5, ICE provided modeling and facilitation expertise to support this group, named the Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Partntership.  Participants worked to link impacts from multiple transportation projects with watershed-based conservation measures that will strategically protect lands in the Slough.


The Result?

A signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and a mitigation bank-in-progress.  However, the most important result:

  • The relationship among transportation agencies and resource partners will guide cohesive planning to build better projects more efficiently while conserving and restoring one of California's great ecological treasures.


Visit the progress of this project, a participant list, an MOU, resources and photos at their website: