Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve protects a critically important Southern California estuary which supports many sensitive plant and animal species. The site includes extensive wetland and channel habitats along with some uplands. It lies adjacent to a sandy beach, subtidal rocky reef, and kelp beds. The reserve provides habitat for migratory waterfowl as well as endangered plants and animals such as the salt marsh bird’s-beak, light-footed clapper rail, and Belding’s savannah sparrow. The marsh serves as an important regional nursery for halibut and other marine and estuarine fish. As part of the Ash Avenue Restoration Project, center, teaching amphitheater, and nature trail have been provided an on-site interpretative to enhance public outreach at Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park.
University courses, including plant ecology, environmental studies, marine biology, and a research mentorship program.
Ongoing monthly bird surveys provide census data, information on habitat-use and species-density changes.
Extensive marsh restoration at Carpinteria Salt Marsh nature park; removal of invasive exotic plants.
Class visits from local elementary/secondary schools; field trips through such local organizations as Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History; interpretive panels along nature trail in nature park; weekly docent-led tours.
- NSF-funded, long-term investigation of watersheds and nearshore marine environments; new EPA-funded wetland toxicity center.
- Impacts to estuary from runoff/effluents; nutrient dynamics in estaurine ecosystem; long-term vegetation sampling in relationship to soil texture, salinity, tidal inundation, and competition or facilitation among species.
Special Research of National Significance
- Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research (LTER): Land/Ocean Interactions and the Dynamics of Kelp Forest Ecosystems
- Pacific Estuarine Ecosystem Indicator Research (PEEIR) Consortium
Santa Barbara County, west of the city of Carpinteria; 32 km (20 mi.) east of Santa Barbara campus.
Interpretative area, teaching amphitheater, and nature trail at Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park on Ash Avenue; some facilities available at UCSB; no on-site research or housing facilities.
The reserve bibliography includes citations of journal articles, books, theses, art, and other works published about or based on activities conducted at the reserve.
Bibliography of marsh-based inventories/research; historic/current aerial photos; species lists; synoptic collections; geographic information system (GIS); marsh management plan w/extensive site information; selected databases at website.
Reserve manager/NRS office on Santa Barbara campus; no on-site personnel.
49 hectares (120 acres) owned by UC; 93 hectares (230 acres) total habitat area
1 m below mean sea level to 3 m above mean sea level (-3 to 10 ft.)
38 cm (15 in.) per year
August maximum: 24 ºC (75 ºF)
January minimum: 6 ºC (42 ºF)