Estuarine, intertidal, organic, channel/slough, eulittoral

Undisturbed channels and sloughs are troughs within a tidal flat that drain slowly throughout the tidal cycle. They are usually lined with marsh plants, contain numerous invertebrates and fishes, and are used by shorebirds, herons, raccoons, otter, mink, and other organisms as important foraging areas. Dunlin, sanderling, and western sandpipers are especially abundant. Most resident and migratory birds, especially waterfowl, that use estuaries for feeding or roosting occupy channels at various times. Precise invertebrate and plant assemblages probably vary with salinity, flow rate, and substratum type.

Habitat attributes

Class ID: 
Class name: 
Estuarine, intertidal, organic, channel/slough, eulittoral
103.0 km (in WA)
Primary substrate: 
Secondary substrate: 
Tertiary substrate: 
Substrate stability: 
Stabilized by vegetation
Substrate key details: 
No stable surface features
Wave exposure: 
Protected, Very protected
Blue book classes: 
Estuarine intertidal mixed-fines and mud: Channel/slough
Map/survey site examples: 
Parts of river channels: Snohomish, Stilliguamish, Skagit
Fish sampling sites: 
Skagit River delta channels
Diagnostic species: 
  • Carex lyngbyei
  • Distichlis spicata
  • Salicornia depressa
  • Triglochin maritima
  • Jaumea carnosa
  • Schoenoplectus maritimus
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Cottus asper
  • Mylocheilus caurinus
  • Leptocottus armatus
  • Platichthys stellatus
Species notes: 
Diagnostic species dependent on salinity and substrate