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Location and Habitats

Carpinteria Salt Marsh is located at latitude 34'0 24' N and longitude 119'0 31' 30" W, about 12 miles (19.4 km) east of Santa Barbara and immediately west of the City of Carpinteria, along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, California (Fig. 1). This estuary is characterized by a series of natural and artificial channels and adjacent estuarine emergent wetlands that occur at the base of the watersheds of Franklin and Santa Monica creeks. These streams and several smaller channels drain portions of the southern slope of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Carpinteria Valley. The latter is a part of the coastal plain of the South Coast, and is bounded on the north by the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, on the south by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Rincon Mountain, and on the west by Toro Canyon. The Santa Ynez Mountains north of the Valley reach a height of about 3900 feet (1189 m) and are the westernmost portion of the Transverse Ranges.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve and vicinity contains both upland habitats (e.g., dunes, alluvial fans/deltas, berms, roadside, and dredge spoil) and wetland habitats (e.g., intertidal and non-tidal vegetated and non-vegetated flats, ditches, banks, slopes, and depressions), and deepwater habitats (e.g., estuarine, shallow subtidal-channels and marine, offshore subtidal-rocky-reef). The predominant vegetation/habitat form is estuarine emergent wetland dominated by Pickleweed (Salicornia virginica).
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