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Though somewhat disturbed in the past, the vegetation
here has reached a fairly stable level and represents one of the finest mature
coastal freshwater marshes in Southern California.
The wetlands support a dense cover of brackish or freshwater marsh
vegetation interspersed with willow thickets.
The upland border comprises a stable riparian woodland community; the
lower, marshy areas are subject to winter flooding.
Approximately a third (8 hectares, 20 acres) of the
wetlands are composed of a cattail-bulrush community, with California bulrush,
Scirpus californicus, the dominant in most of the area.
There are also pure stands of Scirpus americanus.
Some 15 hectares (35 acres) are covered by willow thickets consisting of
almost pure stands of arroyo willow, Salix lasiolepis.
An undercover is absent in most areas, though at the lower margins the
cattails are appearing to invade following clearing.
On the upland margins these thickets grade into shrubby willows or
riparian woodland which is dominated by California sycamore, Platanus
Fringing the bulrush on the inland border of the marsh is a Jaumea-rush
community with Mexican rush, Juncus mexicanus, prominent.
Several algae, Chara sp. and Enteromorpha sp., are found in the open
pools. Fifty-eight species of plants have been recorded in the area.
Animal life is abundant.
The marsh, which is formed by the intermittent San Mateo
River, is bounded on the northwest by a steep
railroad crosses the marsh and there has been some road building but little
recent activity. There is some
Peta J. 1969.
A Survey of the Coastal Wetland Vegetation of North San Diego County.
Mimeo. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento.
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