Salt Marsh


Fewer than 30 salt marshes remain in Southern California. These remaining marshes are squeezed between the coast and mountains with variable Mediterranean rainfall patterns and intense human development pressure. As such these wetlands are criss-crossed with utilities, transportation corridors and other pressures that lead to filling and diking of these once complex ecosystems. Because the plants and animals are diverse and respond to delicate variations in salinity, topography, and hydrology, they are challenging to restore. Plant species in salt marshes are adapted to high salinity conditions with various unique adaptations, including the ability to expel salt from the plant (Saltgrass, Distichlis spicata), sequester salt in tips of stems (Pickleweed, Salicornia virginica), and reduce water loss through succulent stems, reduced waxy and grey leaves.