Moss Landing Wildlife Area
Moss Landing Wildlife Area is a California State wildlife preserve on the shore of Elkhorn Slough.
The Moss Landing Wildlife Area protects 728 acres (295 ha) of
Monterey County, California, just north of the town of Moss Landing, California. It includes part of the largest unaltered salt marsh on the California coast. Access is allowed only by foot on trails, and all plants and animals are protected. It is a popular spot for birding and viewing sea otters.
Some limited hunting is allowed during certain limited seasons, but rifles or pistols are not allowed. It is administered through the  California Department of Fish and Game.
A small strip of the reserve (the easiest to access) lies just east of
Highway 1 (called the Cabrillo Highway) at 36°48′44″N 121°47′5″W / 36.81222°N 121.78472°W opposite the Moss Landing Yacht Harbor. Coordinates: 36°48′44″N 121°47′5″W / 36.81222°N 121.78472°W
Other sections lie north of  Elkhorn Slough, and west of the slough after it turns to the north, at .
To access the north shore section, a trailhead is off Highway 1 between the two intersections of Struve Road, at 36°51′3″N 121°45′49″W / 36.85083°N 121.76361°W . A level Marsh Trail runs from this area to a small picnic area, and then the main channel of Elkhorn Slough. 36°49′41″N 121°46′21″W / 36.82806°N 121.77250°W
The eastern shore of Elkhorn Slough is protected as part of the
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
 Moss Landing State Beach and Zmudowski State Beach provide access to the Monterey Bay directly west of the wildlife area.
In the late 1800s about 200 acres of what is now the wildlife area were
salt evaporation ponds used to commercially produce sea salt for use in local fish canneries. Owned by the Moss Landing Salt Works , the ponds were abandoned in 1974. 
The wildlife area was established by the state of California in 1984, and was managed in cooperation with the  Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary when it was established in 1992.
The former salt ponds provide habitat for several shorebird species.
The number of
western snowy plovers ( Charadrius nivosus) nesting in the ponds in spring improved after active management began in 1995 by the Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science group.     
In 1999 the ponds were identified as the most critical breeding habitat in the Monterey Bay region for the plovers.
In 2006 a managed tidal flow was improved, funded by  Ducks Unlimited, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
In late fall water levels are raised to encourage roosting  brown pelicans.
In early spring (March or April) the ponds are drained and before the mud dries, volunteers are organized into a "mudstomp" to create shallow impressions as nesting sites. 
 Binoculars, telescopes, or cameras with telephoto lenses are best used for viewing since observers are restricted from getting too close. 
 Herons, sandpipers, egrets and other waterbirds also are seen in season.
The northern entrance and trails can often be closed to public access. 
"Elkhorn Slough Area Access and Activity Guide" (PDF). Elkhorn Slough Foundation. July 2010 . Retrieved . December 4, 2010
"Moss Landing Wildlife Area - Monterey County". official web site. California Department of Fish and Game . Retrieved . December 4, 2010
^ a b
Stacey Lee (July 2009). "California Department of Fish and Game Central Region" (PDF). map of Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and Moss Landing Wildlife Area. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 8, 2010 . Retrieved . December 4, 2010
John McKinney (2005). . California's coastal parks: a day hiker's guide Wilderness Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 9780899973883.
^ Monterey County Free Libraries
Jerry Emory (1999). . The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide University of California Press. pp. 144–145. ISBN 0520217128.
^ a b
"Moss Landing Wildlife Area". A Review of Marine Zones in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved . December 4, 2010
"Special status species: Western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)". Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network . Retrieved . December 8, 2010
Gary W. Page; Warriner, J.C.; Warriner, J.S.; Eyster, Carleton; Neuman, K.; DiGaudio, R.; Erbes, J.; Mitchell, M. (2005). Nesting of the Snowy Plover at Monterey Bay and on the Beaches of Northern Santa Cruz County, California in 2004 (Report). Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science. publication Number 1251
"Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover ( Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2007 . Retrieved . December 8, 2010
^ a b
Harriot Manley (May 2005). "Birds on the beach: see Moss Landing's snowy plovers stage a comeback". . p. 189 Sunset Magazine . Retrieved . December 8, 2010
"Elkhorn Slough Birds: Snowy Plover". Elkhorn Slough Foundation . Retrieved . December 8, 2010
^ a b
Greg Hofmann (March 2003). "Snowy Plover Mudstomp". Elkhorn Slough Foundation . Retrieved . December 8, 2010
"Moss Landing Wildlife Area Project". official web site. Ducks Unlimited . Retrieved . December 6, 2010
Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Advisory Team (April 2002). "The Moss Landing Power Plant: Elkhorn Slough Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program Plan" (PDF) . Retrieved . December 6, 2010
"Elkhorn Slough Area Birding Guide". Elkhorn Slough Foundation . Retrieved . December 4, 2010
"Moss Landing State Wildlife Area". Trails.com . Retrieved . December 6, 2010 External links
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