What are marine wetlands?
Marine Intertidal Zone along Southern Big Sur Coastline
[click to enlarge Marine Intertaidal Zone image]
Perch and Eelgrass
[click to enlarge Pearch and Eelgrass image]
Marine wetlands occur along the outer coast of California. They depend on regular tidal action, ocean waves, or frequent ocean spray. The plants that inhabit marine wetlands are salt-tolerant. In contrast with estuarine wetlands, marine wetlands are minimally influenced by the freshwater from rivers or streams.
Eelgrass beds are one particularly important kind of marine wetland. They occur in the lower limits of the intertidal zone, where they function as nurseries for a variety of marine fishes, as well as feeding areas for fish, birds, seals and other marine mammals. Eelgrass beds are subject to special protection in California.