The Madrona Marsh, although geologically relatively young, is reminiscent of the natural state of much of the South Bay area. The Preserve is a remnant of once extensive natural systems that existed along the coastal plain and coastal terraces of Southern California.
The Preserve is situated on land that was in oil production from 1924 to 2003. This is why it was never developed for commercial or residential uses.
While the area had gone unnoticed to many, there have been some citizens who had been actively aware of the area for many years. For example, the local Audubon Society used the area since 1967 in their annual bird census, and for years bird watchers parked along nearby streets and watched the area through the fence for their recreation. Biologists from El Camino Community College have used the site as a resource to botany, zoology and geography classes for over 40 years.