Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project

Welcome to the Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project website. This project is funded by the State Water Resources Control Board under the Proposition 50, Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. The project funding was awarded to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project with California State University, Northridge's Center for Geographic Studies as the primary sub-contractor.

The goal of this website is to disseminate publication materials, draft wetland maps, and provide stakeholders with any information they need about our project. Please feel free to contact us (Contact Info.) if you have any specific questions. Our Meetings page will detail any upcoming stakeholder meetings or presentations. Don't hesitate to let us know if you would like for us to give a presentation at your organization or if you have any questions about our project.

Our Project

The purpose of this project is to build on ongoing work by US FWS National Wetland Inventory (NWI), the Resources Agency, the Coastal Conservancy, & SCCWRP to complete an update of wetland and associated riparian habitat maps in Southern California coastal watersheds. The objective of this project is to produce a full set of wetland and riparian habitat maps for the region with a base imagery standard of year 2000 or newer. "Wetlands" include estuaries, lagoons, wadeable and non-wadeable streams and rivers, depressions, seeps, springs and lakes. Riparian areas include those transitional areas adjacent to rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes, and depressional wetlands that characteristically have a high water table and are subject to periodic flooding and influence from these adjacent water bodies. Since all these wetlands and riparian areas are located in coastal watersheds, all drain and impact coastal waters. Below is a map outlining the coastal watersheds in Southern California. For more detailed information on our study area, please see our Study Area webpage.

Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project Study Area

Click to enlarge.

Habitat will be mapped using the NWI methodology for mapping. NWI is the federal standard for wetland mapping and is consistent with that being used for California’s Statewide Wetland Inventory. Mapping is done in a geographic information system and based on interpretation of color-infrared and true-color aerial photography with some field-based ground truthing. Collateral data sources are also used and include: National Hydrography Data (USGS 2004), hydric soils data (NRCS 2005), USGS topographic maps, and land use.

All maps produced will go through a watershed stakeholder review process designed to identify any inaccuracies and increase stakeholder involvement and accuracy in the final product. Most of the mapping we perform is based on interpretation of aerial photography and collateral data. While we do field check many of our delineations, we do not have time to visit every wetland within the study area. However, we have found that relying on local stakeholders for field input has largely improved the quality of our product. Stakeholder review will be coordinated through the WRP County Task Forces (one in each of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties). This website is intended to be a primary form of communication between project members and our stakeholder groups.