Saline and Brackish Marshes

Foliage of Chinese tallow tree
Invasive, exotic plant species such as the Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) can
significantly alter existing native wetland habitats in a short amount of time, if not controlled.
Photo courtesy Jennifer Key, TPWD 2004, Angelina County

Saline (salty) and brackish (somewhat salty) marshes occur along the Gulf Coast of Texas and are complex and highly productive ecosystems, containing a variety of plant and animal species that are specially adapted to fluctuations in salinity, water levels, and seasonal temperatures. Marshes along the Gulf Coast receive an abundance of silt from the major rivers that traverse Texas, and the plants that reside in saline and brackish marshes help protect the aquatic life in Gulf Coast bays by filtering sediment and pollutants from overland flow.

The health and abundance of Gulf Coast marshes has a direct impact on economically significant species such as shrimp and crab, in addition to providing habitat for numerous species of migrating birds.