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Spartina gracilis Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Alkali Cordgrass Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CEGL001588
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association has only been described from plots in northern Colorado, Utah and Oregon, but it is likely to occur throughout the western U.S. In Colorado, these wetland meadows occur in small patches in swales and on banks, terraces and overflow channels of gentle-gradient streams and rivers at low to middle elevations. Soils are alkaline, fine-textured silt loams and clay loams. The vegetation is a sparse to thick herbaceous layer of grasses and grasslike plants that is dominated by Spartina gracilis. Other herbaceous species that are known to occur include Equisetum hyemale, Distichlis spicata, Triglochin maritima, and Asclepias speciosa. Deciduous trees and shrubs occur with minimal cover and are usually restricted to the margins of stands. This association requires a seasonally high water table and alkaline soils in order to persist. Information on stands that occur outside Colorado will be added later as it becomes available.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

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, Playa & Shrubland
Macrogroup Warm & Cool Desert Alkali-Saline Marsh, Playa & Shrubland
Group North American Desert Alkaline-Saline Marsh & Playa
Alliance Alkali Sacaton - Scratchgrass - Alkali Cordgrass Alkaline Wet Meadow

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



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Colorado Spartina gracilis Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain CNHP 2015
Idaho Spartina gracilis Community Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Spartina gracilis Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002
Oregon Spartina gracilis Playa Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004
Washington Spartina gracilis Alkaline Wet Meadow Equivalent Certain WNHP unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Spartina gracilis - Sporobolus airoides
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.
Related Concept Name: Spartina gracilis
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.
Related Concept Name: Spartina gracilis 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: Spartina gracilis association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crawford, R. C. 2003. Riparian vegetation classification of the Columbia Basin, Washington. Natural Heritage Report 2003-03. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. 98 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Cordgrass Series
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Sawyer, J. O., and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A manual of California vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 471 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES300.729 North American Arid West Emergent Marsh
CES304.786 Inter-Mountain Basins Playa
CES306.821 Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GU (23Feb1994)
Rounded Global Status: GU - Unrankable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association has been described from plots in northern Colorado, Utah and Oregon. It is likely to occur throughout the western U.S.

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: Arkansas Tablelands Section
Section Code: 331I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Upper Rio Grande Basin Section
Section Code: 331J Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Temperate Desert Division
Province Name: Intermountain Semi-Desert and Desert Province
Province Code: 341 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bonneville Basin Section
Section Code: 341A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Canyon Lands Section
Section Code: 341B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Mono Section
Section Code: 341D 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
Section Name: Southern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: South-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: North-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Temperate Desert Regime Mountains
Province Name: Nevada-Utah Mountains Semi-Desert - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M341 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Great Basin Mountains Section
Section Code: M341A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This herbaceous association is characterized by sparse to dense cover of Spartina gracilis with few other species. Other herbaceous species that are known to occur include Equisetum hyemale, Distichlis spicata, Triglochin maritima, and Asclepias speciosa. Deciduous trees and shrubs occur with minimal cover and are usually restricted to the margins of stands.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Spartina gracilis GU Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This wet meadow association occurs in small patches in swales and on banks, terraces and overflow channels of gentle-gradient streams and rivers at low to middle elevations in northern Colorado. Soils are alkaline, fine-textured silt loams and clay loams.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association requires a seasonally high water table and alkaline soils in order to persist. Spartina gracilis tolerates burial from overbank flooding by resprouting readily. Changes in soil chemistry or water table will result in shifts in species dominance.


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 and 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
  • Baker, W. L. 1984b. Additions to a bibliography of Colorado vegetation description. Great Basin Naturalist 44(4):677-680.

  • 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]. 2006-2015. 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.

  • Crawford, R. C. 2003. Riparian vegetation classification of the Columbia Basin, Washington. Natural Heritage Report 2003-03. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. 98 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • Hanson, H. C. 1929. Range resources of the San Luis Valley. Pages 5-61 in: Range resources of the San Luis Valley. Bulletin 335. Colorado Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2005. Wetland and riparian plant associations in Idaho. Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. [http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/tech/CDC/ecology/wetland_riparian_assoc.cfm] (accessed 14 June 2005).

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

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

  • Salas, D. E., J. Stevens, K. Schulz, M. Artmann, B. Friesen, S. Blauer, E. W. Schweiger, and A. Valdez. 2010b. Vegetation classification and mapping project report: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Natural Resource Report NPS/ROMN/NRR--2010/179. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.

  • Sawyer, J. O., and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A manual of California vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 471 pp.

  • Ungar, I. A. 1972. The vegetation of inland saline marshes of North America, north of Mexico. Basic Problems and Methods in Phytosociology 14:397-411.

  • Ungar, I. A. 1974c. Halophyte communities of Park County, Colorado. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 101:145-152.

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


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