NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
Ecological Association Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected.
See All Search Results    View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Spartina pectinata Western Herbaceous Vegetation
Translated Name: Prairie Cordgrass Western Herbaceous Vegetation
Unique Identifier: CEGL001476
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is common in wetlands and riparian areas of the Great Plains from eastern Montana south to Wyoming and Colorado, west to eastern Oregon and Washington, and occurs in small, scattered areas along rivers in the Colorado Plateau. Elevation ranges from 716-1770 m (2350-5800 feet). On large river floodplains, this type occurs as distinct patches and is distinguished from adjacent riparian types by micro-topography and degree of soil saturation. Substrates are usually poorly to moderately well-drained, finer textured soils, but vary to coarser textures. Stands generally occur as distinct patches in a matrix of other tallgrass and wetland associations, separated by differences in micro-topography and degree of soil saturation. This is a dense to moderately dense, tallgrass wet meadow that is characterized by being composed almost entirely of Spartina pectinata. Other herbaceous species such as Andropogon gerardii, Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex nebrascensis, Carex pellita, Carex praegracilis, Equisetum hyemale, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Panicum virgatum, and Pascopyrum smithii may be present but contribute low cover. However, Schoenoplectus pungens may codominate some stands. Scattered woody species may also be present such as Amorpha fruticosa, Chrysothamnus linifolius, Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni, Salix exigua, and the invasive exotic Tamarix ramosissima. The invasive thistle Cirsium arvense may be abundant in some stands. Historic sources cite large stands in mudflats along the Missouri and Platte rivers. Large stands have been observed south of Denver that are now threatened by housing and golf course developments.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Compare this association with Spartina pectinata - Carex spp. Herbaceous Vegetation (CEGL001477).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.5 - Salt Marsh
Division 2.C.5.Nd - North American Western Interior Brackish Marsh
Macrogroup Warm & Cool Desert Alkali-Saline Wetland
Group North American Desert Alkaline-Saline Herbaceous Wetland & Playa
Alliance Scratchgrass - Alkali Cordgrass - Alkali Sacaton Alkaline Grassland

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL001477 Spartina pectinata - Carex spp. Herbaceous Vegetation



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Related Subnational Community Units
These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.
In the U.S., contact the state Heritage Program for the most complete and up-to-date information at: http://www.natureserve.org/natureserve-network.
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
Oregon Spartina pectinata Community Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Spartina pectinata / Calamagrostis canadensis Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.
Related Concept Name: Spartina pectinata
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bourgeron, P. S., and L. D. Engelking, editors. 1994. A preliminary vegetation classification of the western United States. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Western Heritage Task Force, Boulder, CO. 175 pp. plus appendix.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Spartina pectinata Dominance Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Evans, S. 1989a. Riparian survey of Washington's Columbia Basin. Unpublished report prepared for The Nature Conservancy Washington Natural Heritage Program, Olympia, Washington.
Related Concept Name: Spartina pectinata Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hansen, P. L., R. D. Pfister, K. Boggs, B. J. Cook, J. Joy, and D. K. Hinckley. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana. 646 pp. plus posters.
Related Concept Name: Spartina pectinata Western Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.
Related Concept Name: Coarse Grasses of Wet Land
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Weaver, J. E. 1965. Native vegetation of Nebraska. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 185 pp.
Related Concept Name: Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Jones, G. 1992b. Wyoming plant community classification (Draft). Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 183 pp.
Related Concept Name: Prairie Slough grass, Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, and M. Damm. 1997a. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the South Platte Basin (and part of Republican River Basin), Colorado. Submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII. Prepared by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES300.729 North American Arid West Emergent Marsh
CES303.673 Western Great Plains Tallgrass Prairie
CES303.676 Northwestern Great Plains Floodplain
CES306.821 Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3? (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: OR, UT, WA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is common in wetlands and riparian areas of the Great Plains from Montana south to Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, and west to eastern Oregon and Washington; it occurs in small, scattered areas along rivers in the Colorado Plateau. Historic sources cite large stands in mudflats along the Missouri and Platte rivers.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Division
Province Name: Great Plains-Palouse Dry Steppe Province
Province Code: 331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central High Tablelands Section
Section Code: 331C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northwestern Glaciated Plains Section
Section Code: 331D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Plains Section
Section Code: 331E Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Northwestern Great Plains Section
Section Code: 331F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Powder River Basin Section
Section Code: 331G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central High Plains Section
Section Code: 331H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Temperate Desert Division
Province Name: Intermountain Semi-Desert Province
Province Code: 342 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Columbia Basin Section
Section Code: 342I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe - Open Woodland - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Uinta Mountains Section
Section Code: M331E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Forest - Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M333 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Rockies Section
Section Code: M333C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This is a dense to moderately dense, tallgrass wet meadow that is characterized by being composed almost entirely of Spartina pectinata. Other herbaceous species such as Andropogon gerardii, Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex nebrascensis, Carex pellita, Carex praegracilis, Elymus canadensis, Equisetum hyemale var. affine, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Panicum virgatum, Pascopyrum smithii, and Verbena hastata may be present but contribute low cover (Hansen et al. 1995, Jones and Walford 1995, Kittel et al. 1999b, Carsey et al. 2003a). However, Eleocharis palustris or Schoenoplectus pungens may codominate some stands (Hansen et al. 1995, Jones and Walford 1995). Scattered woody species may also be present such as Amorpha fruticosa, Chrysothamnus linifolius, Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni, Salix exigua, and the invasive exotic Tamarix ramosissima. The invasive thistle Cirsium arvense or introduced forage species Agrostis stolonifera may be abundant in some stands.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Tamarix ramosissima   Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Cirsium arvense   Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Verbena hastata   Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Equisetum hyemale var. affine   Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Equisetum laevigatum   Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Agrostis stolonifera   Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex nebrascensis   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex pellita   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Eleocharis palustris   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus canadensis   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Panicum virgatum   Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Pascopyrum smithii   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schoenoplectus pungens   Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Spartina pectinata   Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is common in wetlands and riparian areas of the Great Plains west to eastern Oregon and Washington, and occurs in small, scattered areas along rivers in the Colorado Plateau. Historic sources cite large stands in mudflats along the Missouri and Platte rivers. Large stands have been observed south of Denver that are now threatened by housing and golf course developments. This seasonally flooded tallgrass meadow association occurs in swales, drainage bottoms and on river terraces up to 2 m above late-summer river levels. Elevation ranges from 716-1770 m (2350-5800 feet). On large river floodplains, this type occurs as distinct patches and is distinguished from adjacent riparian types by micro-topography and degree of soil saturation. Substrates are usually poorly to moderately well-drained, finer textured soils, but vary to coarser textures (Hansen et al. 1995, Jones and Walford 1995, Kittel et al. 1999b, Carsey et al. 2003a). Stands generally occur as distinct patches in a matrix of other tallgrass and wetland associations, separated by differences in micro-topography and degree of soil saturation. Stands occurring in small swales on the plains and on floodplains of larger rivers are sometimes included in other tallgrass prairie plant associations.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Spartina pectinata is tolerant of sediment deposition and has sharp-pointed shoots that push their way upward through up to a foot of new sediment (Weaver 1965). It appears to be an early colonizer of flooded terraces along the South Platte River in eastern Colorado (Carsey et al. 2003a). Weaver (1965) described Nebraska stands and suggested that it once occurred over hundreds of square miles along the Missouri River and tributaries, at the edge of sluggish ponds and streams. In Nebraska it was a valuable forage resource with harvests of 3-5 tons of hay per acre. Spartina pectinata is propagated by rhizomes, and it is coarse and tall (2-3 m) enough to form dense pure stands that exclude other species (Weaver 1965). Disturbance can increase that amount of early-seral species such as Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Helianthus spp., or Hordeum jubatum (Hansen et al. 1995).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Western Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 07Feb2007
Element Description Author(s): J. Coles, mod. K.A. Schulz

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Bourgeron, P. S., and L. D. Engelking, editors. 1994. A preliminary vegetation classification of the western United States. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Western Heritage Task Force, Boulder, CO. 175 pp. plus appendix.

  • CNHP [Colorado Natural Heritage Program]. 2003. Unpublished data. List of Elements and Elcodes converted and entered into Biotics Tracker 4.0. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

  • CNHP [Colorado Natural Heritage Program]. 2006-2010a. Tracked natural plant communities. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. [http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/tracking/communities.html].

  • Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Coles, J., D. Cogan, D. Salas, A. Wight, G. Wakefield, J. Von Loh, and A. Evenden. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping project report, Dinosaur National Monument. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NCPN/NRTR-2008/112. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 814 pp.

  • Driscoll, R. S., D. L. Merkel, D. L. Radloff, D. E. Snyder, and J. S. Hagihara. 1984. An ecological land classification framework for the United States. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1439. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. 56 pp.

  • Evans, S. 1989a. Riparian survey of Washington's Columbia Basin. Unpublished report prepared for The Nature Conservancy Washington Natural Heritage Program, Olympia, Washington.

  • Hansen, P. L., R. D. Pfister, K. Boggs, B. J. Cook, J. Joy, and D. K. Hinckley. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana. 646 pp. plus posters.

  • Hansen, P. L., and G. R. Hoffman. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland districts of the Custer National Forest: A habitat type classification. General Technical Report RM-157. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. 68 pp.

  • Hansen, P., K. Boggs, and R. Pfister. 1991. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in Montana. Unpublished draft version prepared for Montana Riparian Association, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula. 478 pp.

  • Hansen, P., R. Pfister, J. Joy, D. Svoboda, K. Boggs, L. Myers, S. Chadde, and J. Pierce. 1989. Classification and management of riparian sites in southwestern Montana. Unpublished draft prepared for the Montana Riparian Association, School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula. 292 pp.

  • Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.

  • Jones, G. 1992b. Wyoming plant community classification (Draft). Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 183 pp.

  • Jones, G. P., and G. M. Walford. 1995. Major riparian vegetation types of eastern Wyoming. Submitted to Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 245 pp.

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2000-2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland. 63 pp.

  • Keim, F. D., A. L. Frolik, and G. W. Beadle. 1932. Studies of prairie hay in north central Nebraska. Research Bulletin 60. University of Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station. Lincoln. 54 pp.

  • Kittel, G., R. Rondeau, and A. McMullen. 1996. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the Lower South Platte and parts of the Upper Arkansas River basins, Colorado. Submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII. Prepared by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins. 243 pp.

  • MTNHP [Montana Natural Heritage Program]. 2002b. List of ecological communities for Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Montana State Library, Helena, MT.

  • Weaver, J. E. 1965. Native vegetation of Nebraska. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 185 pp.

  • Western Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boulder, CO.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of October 2015.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2015 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2015. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2015
NatureServe
-->
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: October 2015