WETLANDS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST AND COASTAL WATERSHEDS

A Methodology for Their Classification and Description

FOREWORD

Wetlands of the Central and Southern California Coast and Coastal Watersheds: A Methodology for Their Classification and Description

This report focuses more on the proposed methodology for classifying California wetlands than on providing a complete catalogue of their types or inventory of examples. The catalogue of types is not exhaustive, but expands on the initial catalogue of the draft report. We encourage review and comment on the methodology, with the ultimate collective goal of providing a useable identification and assessment tool in an effort to help document and conserve the natural riches of the study region, and perhaps beyond.

Although funded in large part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this document and its contents resulting from our study do not represent the views, methods, or conclusions of this agency. The issue of limits of federal regulatory jurisdiction of Waters of the U.S., including wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act, in central and southern California is not specifically addressed in detail herein, as discussion and review of this topic was not the intent nor motivation of the authors. This document also does not necessarily represent the views of the institutions with which the authors are associated. It is the goal of the authors, however, to publish this document so that it will be available to a broader audience. Any individual or organization who wishes to assist with this publication endeavor is encouraged to contact the authors.

We have been rewarded throughout our work with exposure to a portion of the wealth of the State's wetlands heritage and to the magnitude of their beauty. Without agency concern and appreciation for presentation of this heritage, preparation of the report using color photographs would not have been possible, and would not have had the same impact. This document also serves as Environmental Report No. 1 of the Museum of Systematics and Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Santa Barbara.

 

Wayne R. Ferren Jr., UCSB
Peggy L. Fiedler, SFSU
Robert A. Leidy, EPA, UCD
February 6, 1995

 

I. Introduction

Background

Methods

The Study Region

Scarcity and Losses

Wetlands Definition

Clean Water Act Section 404 Jurisdiction

Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

 

II. Environmental Setting

Introduction

Geologic History

Geography

  • Coast Ranges
  • Southern Provinces

Climate

Vegetation

Land Use HIstory

  • Native American Use
  • European and Modern Influence
 

III. Classification

Introduction

Classification of California Wetlands

  • Early Efforts
  • Improvements and Additions
  • Agency Efforts

A Modified Cowardin et al. Approach

Rationale for the Classification

How to Use this Classification Methodology

The Classification Tables

  • Systems, Subsystems, Classes, and Subclasses of Wetlands
  • Water Regimes: Wetlands and Deep Water Habitats

Water/Soil Chemistry: Wetlands, and Deep Water Habitats

Hrdrogeomorphic Units: Marine and Estuarine Systems

Hydrogeomorphic Units: Riverine, Lacustrine, and Pulustrine System

Substrate/Dominance/Characteristic Types: Marine and Estuarine Systems

Substrate/Dominance/Characteristic Types: Riverine, Lacustrine, and Palustrine Systems

 

IV. Keys

Key to the Wetlands Systems

Key to the Marine Sybsystems and Classes

Key to the Estuarine Subsystems and Classes

Key to the Riverine Subsystems and Classes

Key to the Lacustrine Subsystems and Classes

Key to the Palustrine Classes

 

V. Marine Wetlands

Introduction

Marine Wetlands

Marine Wetland Classes and Subclasses

Marine Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

  • Socio-Economic Values

Losses and Impacts to Marine Wetlands

  • Losses
  • Impacts

Restoration and Creation of Marine Wetlands

Rare or Threatened Wetlands

Classification of Marine Wetlands

Key to the Marine Wetland Classes and Subclasses

Table of Hyrogeomorphic Units in the Marine System Aranged Wtithin Corresponding Water Regimes

Catalogue of Marine Wetlands

 

VI. Estuarine Wetlands

Introduction

Estuarine Wetlands

Types of Estuaries

  • River Mouth Estuaries
  • Canyon Mouth Estuaries
  • Lagoonal Estuaries
  • Coastal Dune-Creek Estuaries
  • Bay Estuaries
  • Structureal Basin Estuaries
  • Artificial Drain Estuaries

Estuarine Wetland Classes and Subclasses

Estuarine Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

  • Ecosystem Functions
  • Socio Economic Values

Estuarine Wetlands: Losses and Impacts

  • Losses
  • Impacts

Restoration and Creation of Estuarine Wetlands

Rare or Threatened Wetlands

Classification of Marine Wetlands

Key to the Estuarine Wetlands Classes

Table of Estuarine Geogeomorphic Units Arranged Within Corresponding Water Regimes

Catalogue of Estuarine Wetlands

 

VII. Riverine

Introduction

Riverine Wetlands

Types of Rivers, Streams, and Washes

Riverine Wetlands Subsystems, Classes, and Subclasses

Riverine Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

  • Ecosystem Functions
  • Socio Economic Values

Imacts and Losses

  • Modification of Natural Flow and Retention Patterns
  • External ThreatsL Riverine Systems as Open Ecosystems
  • Riverine Systems as Disturbance Driven Ecosystems
  • Loss of Resistence and Resilience in Riverine Ecosystems

Restoration and Creation of Riverine Wetlands

Rare or Threatened Wetlands

Key to the Riverine Wetland Subsystems and Classes

Table of Riverine Geogeomorphic Units Arranged Within Corresponding Water Regimes

Catalogue of Riverine Wetlands

 

VIII. Lacustrine

Introduction

Lacustrine Wetlands

Types of Estuaries

  • Natural Lakes
  • Artificial Reservoirs

Lacustrine Wetland Classes and Subclasses

Lacustrine Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

  • Ecosystem Functions
  • Socio Economic Values

Impacts and Losses

Restoration and Creation of Lacustrine Wetlands

Rare and Threatened Lacustrine Wetlands

Key to the Lacustrine Wetland Subsystems and Classes

Table of Hydrogeomorphic Units in the Lacustrine System Arranged Within Corresponding Water Regimes

Catalogue of Lacustrine Wetlands

 

IX. Palustrine

Introduction

Palustrine Wetlands

Palustrine Wetland Classes and Subclasses

Palustrine Hydrogeomorphic Units

Ecosystem Functions and Socio-Economic Values

  • Ecosystem Functions
  • Socio Economic Values

Palustrine Wetland Losses and Impacts

  • Losses
  • Impacts

Restoration and Creation of Palustrine Wetlands

Rare and Threatened Palustrine Wetlands

  • Vernal Pools
  • Vernal Ponds
  • Palustrine Vernal Lakes
  • Vernal Alkali Plains
  • Dune Swale Wetlands
  • Coastal Canyon Bottom
  • Forested Riparian Corridors

Classification of the Palustrine Wetlands

Key to the Palustrine Wetland Classes

Table of Hydrogeomorphic Units in the Palustrine System Arranged Within Corresponding Water Regimes

Catalogue of Palustrine Wetlands

 

X. Hydrogeomorphic Classification and Assessment of Functions and Values of the Wetlands of the Ventura River Watershed

Introduction

  • Background
  • The Ventura River Watershed
  • Physical Characteristics
  • Estuarine Characteristics
  • Marine Characteristics
  • History of Land and Water Development

Methods

  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Assessment of Functions and Values

Description of Wetlands Types and Distribution

  • Marine System
  • Estuarine System
  • Lacustrine System
  • Riverine System
  • Palustrine System
  • Watershed Distribution

Assessment of Functions and Values