San Dieguito River Park
- 14 -
Southern California is known as a biodiversity hotspot with its wide range of habitat types containing hundreds of different species. Along this lagoon trail you have already come across many different habitat types including coastal wetlands, salt marsh, sandy nesting sites, salt marsh transition habitat, coastal sage scrub (Crest Canyon), freshwater marsh (Treatment Ponds), riparian, native grasslands and southern mixed chaparral. Each habitat type plays an important role in keeping the coastal ecosystem functioning. Many of the different habitat types create specialized homes for native plants and animals. This specialized area that is specific to each individual species is called their niche. Many species are unable to adapt to a new environment and if their niche habitat is destroyed, they are unable to survive. The San Dieguito Lagoon is home to many threatened and endangered species that utilize the specialized habitat types found here at the lagoon. For example the salt water marsh habitat provides home to the endangered bird species, the light-footed clapper rail.