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Schoenoplectus robustus - Spartina alterniflora Salt Marsh
Translated Name: Sturdy Bulrush - Smooth Cordgrass Salt Marsh
Common Name: Bulrush Brackish Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL006416
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This brackish marsh occurs as small patches on low sites in the interior of marshes on tidal rivers of Virginia and possibly elsewhere. Dominant species are Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus) and Spartina alterniflora. Spartina cynosuroides is a nearly constant associate and frequently attains high cover. Other associates may include Borrichia frutescens, Symphyotrichum tenuifolium (= Aster tenuifolius), Distichlis spicata, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii var. novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Typha angustifolia, Rumex verticillatus, Pontederia cordata, Echinochloa walteri, Peltandra virginica, Amaranthus cannabinus, Polygonum punctatum, and Leersia oryzoides. In general, this association is depauperate with few other associated species.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association differs from Spartina alterniflora - Lilaeopsis chinensis Salt Marsh (CEGL004193) and Spartina alterniflora - Polygonum punctatum - Amaranthus cannabinus Salt Marsh (CEGL006418) in that it is distinctly brackish with Schoenoplectus robustus as the primary dominant species. The former (CEGL004193) tends to occur on larger tidal rivers (i.e., Connecticut River, Delaware River), while the latter (CEGL006418) occurs in oligohaline habitat.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.5 - Salt Marsh
Division 2.C.5.Nb - North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Macrogroup North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Brackish Salt Marsh
Alliance Cordgrass Brackish Tidal Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004193 Spartina alterniflora - Lilaeopsis chinensis Salt Marsh
CEGL006418 Spartina alterniflora - Polygonum punctatum - Amaranthus cannabinus Salt Marsh



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Delaware Alkali Bulrush Brackish Marsh Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Bolboschoenus robustus Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus robustus - Spartina alterniflora Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus robustus - Spartina alterniflora Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Mesohaline / Polyhaline Marsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.894 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Brackish Tidal Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (15Nov2000)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MA, MDpotentially occurs, NJ, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is currently described only from Virginia (Mattaponi, Pamunkey, and York rivers) and Massachusetts (Pamet River); it is also reported from New Jersey and Delaware and may occur in Maryland.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This brackish marsh is dominated by Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus) and Spartina alterniflora. Other associates may include Spartina cynosuroides, Borrichia frutescens, Symphyotrichum tenuifolium (= Aster tenuifolius), Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Typha angustifolia, Rumex verticillatus, Pontederia cordata, Echinochloa walteri, Peltandra virginica, Amaranthus cannabinus, Polygonum punctatum, and Leersia oryzoides. In general, this association is depauperate with few other associated species.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Distichlis spicata GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schoenoplectus robustus GNR Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina alterniflora GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Spartina cynosuroides GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Typha angustifolia GNR Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This marsh occurs along brackish sections of tidal rivers in Virginia.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Chesapeake Bay Ecology Group and L.A. Sneddon, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 01Jun2007
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid and L.A. Sneddon

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


References
  • Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 pp.

  • Coulling, Phil. Personal communication. Vegetation Ecologist. Department of Conservation & Recreation, 217 Governor St., Richmond, VA 23219.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2001a. Community types of Coastal Plain calcareous ravines in Virginia. Preliminary analysis and classification. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 4 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.

  • Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.


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