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Ecological Importance of Devereux and Estuaries

Devereux Slough

Devereux Slough Oct. 17, 2009
Devereux Slough, October 13, 2009

An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water formed where freshwater from rivers and streams flows into the ocean, mixing with the salty sea water. Estuaries and the lands surrounding them are places of transition from land to sea, and from fresh to salt water. Estuaries are found around the world and come in all shapes and sizes.  Some examples of estuaries other than the Devereux Slough include the San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, Boston Harbor, Goleta Slough, and Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries and coastal wetlands are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on earth. They provide essential habitats for resident and migrating birds, fish, invertebrates and many other species.  The loss of coastal wetlands and their unique communities has been of growing concern over the past three decades.  Only 5% of coastal wetland habitats remain in California.

The Slough supports a wide variety of plant and animal life that are adapted to rapidly changing physical conditions, such as salinity, oxygen levels, and depth. Fish that live in the slough include the Tidewater Goby, California Killifish, Mosquitofish, and Topsmelt.  Invertebrates also inhabit this slough including microscopic crustaceans, worms, and insect larvae like Dragonfly nymphs. Refer to biological data for complete species lists found in the Devereux Slough.

Devereux Slough is often considered one of the top ten birding spots in the western United States, and has been classified by the Audubon Society as an "Important Bird Area." Over 290 species of birds are found in the Devereux Slough.  They include Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, Avocet, Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks, and Least Sand pipers.

Bird life at Devereux Slough
Northern Shovelers and a Black-necked Stilt at Devereux Slough, March 2008

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