Coastal salt marsh occurs nearest the ocean where perennial water flows from inland sources. Plants in this community are adapted to a high concentration of salt, very little wave action and oxygen-depleted soils. Succulence, usually associated with desert vegetation, is a common characteristic of plants growing on the coastal salt marsh. Some representative plants include pickleweed (Salcornia sp.), dodder (Cuscuta salina), salt grass (Distichlis spicata), and sea blite (Sueda californica). Examples of this type of plant community in the Santa Monica Mountains can be found around Malibu and Mugu Lagoons.
Of an estimated 26,000 acres of original coastal wetlands, occurring from Santa Barbara to the border with Mexico, approximately 8,500 acres remain. This represents a 67 percent reduction in this community type. The dramatic reduction in area makes this community especially important in the Santa Monica Mountains.