Executive Summary excerpt
The coastal lagoon ecosystem of California provides a wide array of ecological and social value, yet little information currently exists on what is, or how to best evaluate, relative lagoon condition. The unique hydrodynamics of these seasonal estuaries has lent to the high ecological diversity and value of coastal lagoons. Human development within the historic marsh and a variety of land use activities in the contributing watersheds has variably impaired lagoons throughout the California Coast. The Comparative Lagoon Ecological Assessment Project (CLEAP) is an intensive physical, chemical and biological data collection effort focused upon a subset of coastal lagoons in Santa Cruz County to refine the tools available to evaluate relative lagoon condition, provide insight to lagoon function, improve our enhancement strategies for these unique ecosystems and focus future adaptive management efforts.