Madrona Marsh is a 10-acre vernal preserve located in Torrance, California. It is the last of the vernal marshes in the South Bay area and one among the few wetlands located within an urban landscape. The Madrona Marsh preserve is a remnant of the once extensive natural systems that existed along the coastal plain and terraces of Southern California. The marsh is situated on a piece of land that was set aside for oil production in 1924. Thus, the area remained free from commercial and residential forays, and today is imbued with much of its original wilderness and green cover. The Madrona Marsh is valuable habitat for birds, insects, reptiles and small mammals, and a wide variety of native flora. Its diverse avian population prompted the Audubon Society to perform their bird census there, an uninterrupted practice since 1967. In addition, Camino College uses Madrona as an outdoor biology and botany lab. Public and tourist access to the marsh is strictly controlled. Guided tours can be arranged, but only through the "Friends of Madrona Marsh" or the City of Torrance Parks and Recreation Department.