Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Project
The Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Pilot Project focuses on the Elkhorn Slough watershed in northern Monterey County where sensitive upland areas surround the slough that drains into the Pacific Ocean at Monterey Bay. Within the Elkhorn Slough watershed, there are major capacity increasing and operational improvement projects planned on four state highways and three local roads over the next 20 years.
The pilot project builds on the California Department of Transportation’s efforts, currently underway at a statewide level, to consider mitigation on a regional or watershed level. The purpose of the pilot project is to develop funding strategies and conservation agreements that will provide for regional-scale mitigation for multiple transportation projects that can be implemented ahead of the traditional project-by-project milestones. The tools developed with the pilot project will facilitate the integration of regional ecosystem based conservation strategies into early mitigation planning and transportation decisions, while promoting good stewardship at the watershed level. The conservation agreements and management plans developed with the pilot project could then serve as a model for similar programs in other ecosystem regions around the state to support transportation decisions.