Estuarine, intertidal, sand, lagoon, eulittoral

This category is used to map marsh sites that are either associated with deltas or areas behind sand spits or berms, and where there is sometimes freshwater influence but little wave energy. Salt water enters the lagoon by occasionally over-topping or breaching the berm, or seeping in subsurface. These and other marsh types provide great amounts of food and habitat for terrestrial and marine organisms as well as exporting large quantities of detritus to estuarine ecosystems. Animals using salt marshes range from deer and elk to voles, owls, insects, and snow geese and a tremendous variety of other birds. Insects are consumed by fish at high tide, and detritus is eaten by amphipods, clams, and worms, which in turn are eaten by larger invertebrates, shorebirds, mammals, and fish. See Albright et al. (1980) for discussion about Washington salt marsh food webs.

Habitat attributes

Class ID: 
Class name: 
Estuarine, intertidal, sand, lagoon, eulittoral
39.0 km (in WA)
Primary substrate: 
Secondary substrate: 
Tertiary substrate: 
Substrate stability: 
Stabilized by vegetation
Substrate key details: 
Marsh vegetation
Wave exposure: 
Protected, Very protected
Blue book classes: 
Estuarine intertidal sand: Partly enclosed - Marsh [variety of salinities]
Map/survey site examples: 
Inside Dungeness Spit; lagoon inside Spencer Spit
Fish sampling sites: 
Diagnostic species: 
  • Salicornia depressa
  • Distichlis spicata
  • Jaumea carnosa
  • Puccinellia
  • Triglochin maritima
  • Schoenoplectus americanus
  • Leymus mollis
  • Leptocottus armatus
  • Lumpenus sagitta
  • Parophrys vetulus
  • Cymatogaster aggregata
  • Platichthys stellatus
Species notes: