Plant Guide : Vegetation Type : Salt Pan

A salt pan is a flat expanse of ground covered with a crust of salt, formed by the repeated evaporation of either fresh or salt water. It is often unvegetated.

Salt pans are a characteristic component of most of the estuaries in San Diego County, but their extent has diminished as estuarine circulation has been impeded by development. Historically they have provided nesting sites for least terns.

In San Elijo Lagoon, a salt pan extends east along Manchester Ave from the north end of the dike. When flooded by winter rains, it is a rich feeding area for ducks and shorebirds. Although least terns no longer nest in that area, it is used by nesting killdeer.