Despite the importance of documenting wetlands for legislative and conservation purposes, little work has been done to provide a regional inventory of wetlands in southern California. In this paper, we begin the process of documenting the diversity and distribution of wetlands in southern California and provide an analysis of the spatial distribution of wetlands relative to potential human impact. Using photointerpretation and classification techniques from the National Wetlands Inventory, we determined that in our Ventura County study area there were a total of 166 unique wetland classifications and 8,805 wetland polygons inventoried. The Palustrine wetland classification represented the greatest amount of wetlands, followed by Riverine and Lacustrine systems. Nineteen percent of the wetland areas inventoried were given special modifiers indicating they were either modified or human-made. A total 19,916 acres of wetland area were found to be in places facing significant human impact and therefore determined to be a conservation priority. Although 90 percent of original wetland area in California has been lost, Ventura County continues to display a wealth of diversity in wetland type. Contrary to common belief, as evidenced by this Ventura County project, southern California is characterized by significant wetland diversity.


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pp. 79-93
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