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F O R E W O R D

As a final report, Wetlands of the Central and Southern California Coast and Coastal Watersheds: A Methodology for Their Classification and Description is the culmination of an extensive effort to provide a methodology to demonstrate the richness and importance of the depleted and often overlooked wetland resources. Yes, California not only has wetlands (!), but they are frequently unique and often provide functions and values that distinguish them from other places in North America. Although restoration efforts for many types of wetlands either have begun or are based on a rather extensive body of local knowledge, no information has been provided to date to suggest that they are renewable. We may never know the richness or functions of the majority of wetlands (perhaps as many as 90%) that have been lost, but we have an opportunity to understand and appreciate more about the remarkable richness of wetland types that remain.

This report focuses more on the proposed methodology for classifying California wetlands than on providing a complete catalogue of their types or inventory of examples. The catalogue of types is not exhaustive, but expands on the initial catalogue of the draft report. We encourage review and comment on the methodology, with the ultimate collective goal of providing a useable identification and assessment tool in an effort to help document and conserve the natural riches of the study region, and perhaps beyond.

Although funded in large part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this document and its contents resulting from our study do not represent the views, methods, or conclusions of this agency. The issue of limits of federal regulatory jurisdiction of Waters of the U.S., including wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act, in central and southern California is not specifically addressed in detail herein, as discussion and review of this topic was not the intent nor motivation of the authors. This document also does not necessarily represent the views of the institutions with which the authors are associated. It is the goal of the authors, however, to publish this document so that it will be available to a broader audience. Any individual or organization who wishes to assist with this publication endeavor is encouraged to contact the authors.

We have been rewarded throughout our work with exposure to a portion of the wealth of the State's wetlands heritage and to the magnitude of their beauty. Without agency concern and appreciation for presentation of this heritage, preparation of the report using color photographs would not have been possible, and would not have had the same impact. This document also serves as Environmental Report No. 1 of the Museum of Systematics and Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Santa Barbara.


Wayne R. Ferren Jr., UCSB
Peggy L. Fiedler, SFSU
Robert A. Leidy, EPA, UCD
February 6, 1995