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McDaniel Slough wetland enhancement project
The McDaniel Slough Wetland Enhancement project, which touches the northwest corner of the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, first started with the purchase of 75 acres of diked agricultural land in 1998. The funding came from the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program as well as the Wildlife Conservation Board. The 175 acres of the Mad River Slough (California Department of Fish and Game land) was then added to the project. The current project plans to restore and enhance all 250 acres of the former tideland and agricultural areas. With a budget of $985,000 from grants and donations the project is underway and is projected to be finished by 2010.
Goals of the Project
The goal of the project is to restore and protect the area's habitat. When the project is complete, the Department of Fish and Game will manage the land that lies west of the slough. The remaining area that is to the east of the slough will be run by the City of Arcata. This new landscape will provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. The community will also benefit with recreational and educational possibilities, as well as the potential to reduce rural and urban flooding.
What will be implemented?
Listed below are some of the key details to make this project a success.
- By opening up a prexisting levee by 50 feet and deepening some channels, as seen in Figure 1, Humboldt Bay will be suitably connected to McDaniel Slough for the migration of fish and the improvement of their habitat. This will also open up water flow from Humboldt Bay into Janes Creek which should restore the slough's normal tidal functions. 
- Restore a large area of tidal marsh to help alleviate the current problem of pickleweed. Pickleweed (Salicornia virginica) has been invasive in some of these areas, dominating young marsh shorelines which in turn can hinder other plant species to flourish. 
- By connecting existing habitats of The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and the California Department of Fish and Game's Mad River Slough Wildlife area flooding should be reduced with the implementation of tidal gates and appropriate flood levees. Figure 1 shows where these will all be implemented. 
- Ecolevees, as seen in Figure 1, will also be implemented to provide a gradient between the brackish marsh and the mudflat areas with the uplands to connect these different habitats. 
- Within the next few decades, the goal is to have functioning freshwater and brackish ecosystems. Improved habitats will have benefits on such species such as Pt. Reyes bird’s beak, Humboldt Bay owl’s clover, tidewater goby, Coho salmon, and Chinook salmon. 
- Roosting islands, as seen in Figure 1, will be implemented to provide an appropriate and safer habitat for the local birds to rest, sleep and or lay eggs.
- Recreational opportunities with all be available with new trail systems for walking, jogging, biking, and nature watching. Signs will also be posted for potential educational opportunities.
- Figure 1 shows the boundaries of the McDaniel Slough Project as well as the ideas planned for implementation to help establish this area as a sustainable wetlands area.
- Personal communication with Julie Neander-Research Specialist for City of Arcata. April 3, 2008.