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The daily tides experienced by coastal areas can have a dramatic effect on estuarine ecosystems. This series of images shows the remarkable daily rise of waters at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in California. Elkhorn Slough is a tidally flushed seasonal estuary with little freshwater input. Strong tidal currents scour every major wetland habitat within the estuary, transporting large quantities of sediment into Monterey Bay during each low tide. At low tides, a muddy plume reaches a mile or more into Monterey Bay. The black and white-striped stick held in the images is meant to convey a sense of scale, and is approximately eight feet high. You can see at the tides highest point, the man has to wear a mask and snorkle just to be able to stand in the same spot. (Photo: Elkhorn Slough NERRS site)



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