Wetland Types

We have identified seven major wetland categories for the Texas Gulf Coast. The map of major wetland types does not show actual wetlands, nor does it have any information about the amount of wetlands in each area. It shows where different types of wetlands are to be found on the Texas Gulf Coast. Finding undisturbed wetlands of certain types will be very difficult in some areas. Prairie potholes, for example, once covered vast expanses of the Gulf Coast, exceeding 30 percent coverage on the upper coast, but it is now difficult to find an undisturbed pothole complex anywhere in this area. Some areas, such as the Estuarine Wetlands and the eastern part of the Coastal Flatwoods, do have a rather high percentage of wetlands, often exceeding 50 to 80 percent of the land surface, while wetlands in the western areas of the Prairie Potholes-Lower Coast may occupy only 5 to 10 percent of the area, or less.

The wetland categories are based on geology, as this provides the basic template upon which wetlands have formed, following the discussion under “How Our Wetlands Came to Be.” We subdivided these categories further based on climate and vegetation. As with any classification and map, considerable “lumping” of several possible wetland types had to take place, whereas a more detailed map and classification would allow much more “splitting.” The categories presented here do provide a good framework for understanding the major types of wetlands found on the Gulf Coast.

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