Texas Coast Salt and Brackish Tidal Marsh

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Nature Serve ID: CES203.473


Recent alluvial and eolian deposits along the coast.


Nearly level very gentle slopes, and flats influenced by tides.


Coastal sands and various Salt Marsh Ecological Sites.

Parent Description

These marshes occupy relatively low-lying, coastal situations on level landforms influenced by tidal fluctuations. Some sites are only influenced by storm tides, or tides resulting from extreme wind events. The composition of these marshes is primarily influenced by the frequency and duration of tidal inundation. Salinity on some marshes, particularly in the south, is maintained by salt spray from prevailing southeasterly winds. Low marshes are regularly flooded and representative examples are dominated by Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass), Juncus roemerianus (blackrush), or Avicennia germinans (black mangrove). Significant areas of Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) become more frequent towards the south, while extensive areas of Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) become rare south of Corpus Christi Bay. Areas of decreased frequency and/or duration of tidal inundation are often referred to as high, or irregularly flooded, marsh. These marshes may be dominated by species such as Spartina patens (marshhay cordgrass), Distichlis spicata (saltgrass), Schoenoplectus robustus (sturdy bulrush), Schoenoplectus americanus (three-square bulrush), Sporobolus virginicus (seashore dropseed), Monanthochloe littoralis (shoregrass), and Spartina spartinae (Gulf cordgrass). Shrubs, subshrubs, and forbs, such as Batis maritima (saltwort), Borrichia frutescens (sea ox-eye daisy), Sesuvium portulacastrum (shoreline seapurslane), Salicornia spp. (glassworts), Suaeda linearis (annual seepweed), Limonium spp. (sea-lavenders), and Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry) are commonly encountered in these marshes. Some irregularly flooded sites may become shrub-dominated with species such as Iva frutescens (shrubby sumpweed) or Baccharis halimifolia (eastern baccharis). In the south, extensive areas are dominated by Borrichia frutescens (sea ox-eye daisy) and these often occur at very slightly lower elevations and higher salinities than nearby Spartina spartinae (Gulf cordgrass) salty prairie. These Borrichia flats may be very infrequently flooded, perhaps only under extreme storm tide conditions. Other species that may be encountered in these situations include Maytenus phyllanthoides (gutta-percha), Prosopis reptans (tornillo), Monanthochloe littoralis (shoregrass), Distichlis spicata (saltgrass), and Batis maritima (saltwort). The aspect dominant on these sites is clearly Borrichia frutescens (sea ox-eye daisy).

Ecological Mapping Systems

Coastal: Tidal Flat

Coastal: Sea Ox-Eye Daisy Flats

Coastal: Mangrove Shrubland

Mapping System ID: 5606

Shrublands dominated by Avicennia germinans (black mangrove). These tidal shrublands become increasingly well-developed towards the south. Fairly well- developed mangrove shrublands can be found in Redfish Bay near Aransas Pass.

Distribution Map

Coastal: Mangrove Shrubland


coastal-mangrove shrubland-404.jpg

Coastal: Salt and Brackish Low Tidal Marsh

Coastal: Salt and Brackish High Tidal Shrub Wetland

Coastal: Salt and Brackish High Tidal Marsh

Mapping System ID: 5617

Irregularly flooded marsh dominated by graminoids such as Spartina patens (marshhay cordgrass), Distichlis spicata (saltgrass), and Schoenoplectus spp. (bulrushes).

Distribution Map

Coastal: Salt and Brackish High Tidal Marsh


Example Coastal: Salt and Brackish High Tidal Marsh.jpg