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Science Word of the Season: Slough

Posted on: Mar 22, 2016 / Conservator Q1 2016 / 0 COMMENTS

By Ian McGregor

Science Word of Season_Aerial Photo Slough

The Full Tidal Inlet of Bolsa Chica is in fact, by definition, a slough!

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!

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