Marsh and wetland habitats in Carlsbad include southern coastal salt marsh, freshwater marsh, and cismontane alkali marsh. All marsh habitats are considered sensitive.
Southern coastal salt marsh
Southern coastal salt marsh is a wetland community that develops in low, flat estuaries at the mouths of rivers and streams. Tidal inundation or excessive evaporation results in highly saline conditions around the margins of lagoons, and it is under these conditions that salt marshes develop. The community is characterized by low-growing succulents such as pickleweed, salty-Susan, salt cedar, and other salt-tolerant species.
Freshwater marsh occurs in drainages, seepages, and other perennially moist, low places. This community is characterized by cattails and bulrushes. Understory species include curly dock, salt marsh fleabane, and a variety of salt-tolerant grasses and herbs. Sensitive plants frequently encountered in the vicinity of this community are spiny rush and San Diego marsh elder.
Cismontane alkali marsh
Areas in Carlsbad classified as cismontane alkali marsh are typically disturbed riparian freshwater marsh that have changed in vegetative character due to agriculture or other disturbance. Plant species found in these locations are often those associated with salt marsh, as well as non-native plant species.