Gulf Marshes and Prairies
The Gulf Marshes, covering approximately 500,000 acres, are on a narrow strip of lowlands adjacent to the coast and the barrier islands (e.g., Padre Island), which extend from Mexico to Louisiana. The Gulf Prairies, about 9 million acres, include the nearly flat plain extending 30 to 80 miles inland from the Gulf Marshes.
The Gulf Marshes are a low, wet, marshy coastal area, commonly covered with saline water, and range from sea level to a few feet in elevation. The Gulf Prairies are nearly level and virtually undissected plains having slow surface drainage and elevations from sea level to 250 feet.
Soils of the Gulf Marshes are dark, poorly drained sandy loams and clays, and light neutral sands, typically showing little textural change with depth. The loamy and clayey soils are commonly saline and sodic. Prairie soils are dark, neutral to slightly acid clay loams and clays in the northeastern parts. Further south in the subhumid Coastal Bend, the soils are less acidic. A narrow band of light acid sands and darker loamy to clayey soils stretches along the coast. Inland from the dark clayey soils is a narrow belt of lighter acid fine sandy loam soils with gray to brown, and red mottled subsoils. Soils of the river bottomlands and broad deltaic plains are reddish brown to dark gray, slightly acid to calcareous, loamy to clayey alluvial.
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