By Ian McGregor
If you’ve ever traveled on the coast between Santa Cruz and Monterey, you probably have heard of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. If you’ve ever been there, you would know it’s a large wetland-estuary system, only a little bigger than Bolsa Chica. But what exactly is a slough? On the coast a slough (pronounced “slew”) is a part of a main bay or estuary, often a marshy, saltwater inlet. It can also be used to refer to a depression or hollow filled with deep mud, like a bog. Don’t confuse this usage with slough (pronounced “sluff”), which is defined as the dead outer skin shed by a reptile or amphibian! When someone next proposes you take a trip to see Elkhorn “Sluff”, you can let them know they can come see a snake “sluff” all they want at the interpretive center at Bolsa Chica!