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Salix geyeriana / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: Geyer's Willow / Northwest Territory Sedge Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL001207
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: Throughout its distribution, this association occurs in mountains and high valleys at elevations ranging from 1310 to 2740 m (4300-9000 feet). This is the wettest of the Salix geyeriana-dominated willow shrublands. It is most common on broad, level floodplains but does occur in narrow bands along smaller streams in open U-shaped valleys. Valley bottom gradients are usually low. Surface microtopography is often hummocky as a result of the irregular buildup of organic material. Stands have a 1- to 3-m tall, nearly closed canopy to open clumps that are dominated by the deciduous shrub Salix geyeriana, with a thick carpet of graminoids in the undergrowth that is dominated by Carex utriculata. A diversity of other shrubs may be present but usually in low amounts. Some of these subordinate shrubs are present in the upper canopy along with Salix geyeriana, such as Salix boothii, Salix drummondiana, Salix monticola, and Alnus incana. Often there are shorter shrubs present but usually with not more than 20% cover. Shorter shrub species include Salix planifolia, Salix wolfii, Betula glandulosa, Ribes inerme, Lonicera involucrata, or Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda. Carex utriculata clearly dominates the understory. Other sedges and grasses, such as Carex aquatilis, Carex interior, Carex scopulorum, Carex simulata, Carex praegracilis, or Calamagrostis canadensis, may be present, but they have low cover. Forb species are sparse, but Geum macrophyllum appears to be the most constant species across the range of this type.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Many studies throughout the Rocky Mountain west have documented this association. All of these classifications have used the old name Carex rostrata, which is now known to be strictly boreal. This name is superseded by Carex utriculata (Reznicek 1987).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Nb - Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Western North American Montane Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Western Montane-Subalpine Riparian & Seep Shrubland
Alliance Western Montane Tall Willow Wet Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL001178 Salix boothii / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001206 Salix geyeriana / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL002631 Salix drummondiana / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland



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
Idaho Salix geyeriana / Carex utriculata Shrubland Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Salix geyeriana / Carex utriculata Shrubland Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002
Wyoming Salix geyeriana / Carex rostrata Shrubland Equivalent Certain WNDD unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Salix / Carex rostrata
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1987. Riparian zone associations - Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema national forests. Technical Paper 279-87. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 171 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana - Salix spp. / Carex utriculata 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.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Phillips, C. M. 1977. Willow carrs of the upper Laramie River Valley, Colorado. Unpublished thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 71 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana / Carex rostrata - Carex aquatilis Community Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Mutz, K. M., and J. Queiroz. 1983. Riparian community classification for the Centennial Mountains and South Fork Salmon River, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region under contract 53-84M8-2-0048 by Meiiji Resource Consultants, Layton, UT. 168 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana / Carex rostrata Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Jones, G. 1992c. A preliminary classification of riparian vegetation types of the Medicine Bow Range and the Sierra Madre. Report submitted to the Medicine Bow National Forest. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (The Nature Conservancy), Laramie, WY.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana / Carex rostrata Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walford, G., G. Jones, W. Fertig, S. Mellman-Brown, and K. Houston. 2001. Riparian and wetland plant community types of the Shoshone National Forest. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-85. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO. 122 pp.
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.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985a. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 78 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana / Carex rostrata Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hall, J. B., and P. L. Hansen. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Riparian and Wetland Research Program, School of Forestry, University of Montana. Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Technical Bulletin No. 97-11. 381 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix geyeriana / Carex utriculata Shrubland
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: Salix geyeriana / Wet Carex Ecological Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Girard, M., D. L. Wheeler, and S. B. Mills. 1997. Classification of riparian communities on the Bighorn National Forest. R2-RR-97-02. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Sheridan, WY. 308 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix spp. / Carex rostrata Community Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Tuhy, J. S., and S. Jensen. 1982. Riparian classification for the Upper Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon River drainages, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region by White Horse Associates, Smithfield, UT. 183 pp.
Related Concept Name: Geyer willow/beaked sedge (Salix geyeriana/Carex utriculata) Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.832 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association has been document in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Desert Division
Province Name: Intermountain Semi-Desert Province
Province Code: 342 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northwestern Basin and Range Section
Section Code: 342B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Snake River Basalts Section
Section Code: 342D 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: Yellowstone Highlands Section
Section Code: M331A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Overthrust Mountains Section
Section Code: M331D 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
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Beaverhead Mountains Section
Section Code: M332E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Challis Volcanics Section
Section Code: M332F 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
Section Name: Bitterroot Mountains Section
Section Code: M333D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Salix geyeriana dominates the overstory and can have large, often widely spaced clumps. Salix geyeriana can be as much as 3 m tall. A diversity of other shrubs may be present but usually in low amounts. Some of these subordinate shrubs are present in the upper canopy along with Salix geyeriana, such as Salix boothii, Salix drummondiana, Salix monticola, and Alnus incana. Often there are shorter shrubs present but usually with not more than 20% cover. Shorter shrub species include Salix planifolia, Salix wolfii, Betula glandulosa, Ribes inerme, Lonicera involucrata, and Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (= Potentilla fruticosa). Carex utriculata clearly dominates the understory. Other sedges and grasses, such as Carex aquatilis, Carex interior, Carex scopulorum, Carex simulata, Carex praegracilis, or Calamagrostis canadensis, may be present, but they have low cover. Forb species are sparse, but Geum macrophyllum appears to be the most constant species across the range of this type.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Salix geyeriana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling
 
 
Ribes inerme G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Geum macrophyllum G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex aquatilis G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex utriculata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Throughout its distribution, this association occurs in mountains and high valleys at elevations ranging from 1310 to 2740 m (4300-9000 feet). This is the wettest of the Salix geyeriana-dominated willow shrublands. It is most common on broad, level floodplains but does occur in narrow bands along smaller streams in open U-shaped valleys. Valley bottom gradients are usually low. Surface microtopography is often hummocky as a result of the irregular buildup of organic material. Hydrology of these sites is usually maintained through subirrigation, and soil moisture is maintained at or near the surface in most cases. These sites may or may not be annually flooded during high water in the spring and early summer. This association occurs on a range of soil types that are typically wet, cold, and organic or have organic surface horizons. They are generally classified as Mollisols and Histisols. Organic surface horizons, often extending to a depth of 45 cm (18 inches) or more, are riddled with fibrous roots and plant material. Soil textures are categorized as fine, generally silts and clays. Deeper alluvial mineral deposits are composed of coarse and fine sands and gravels. The soils are usually mottled, indicating seasonal flooding and water table recession.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association is the wettest of all Salix geyeriana types. Prolonged, intense utilization by livestock and wild ungulates may shift the site potential to a drier grazing disclimax, characterized by more open stands with exotic grasses, such as Poa pratensis and Agrostis stolonifera, dominating the understory. Beavers may exert a significant influence on sites as well. Active dams maintain high water tables needed to support this type. However, sustained removal of willows by beavers may reduce the site to a Carex utriculata association. When beaver abandon a site, the dams eventually deteriorate, and the water table may drop, shifting the site potential to Salix geyeriana / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland (CEGL001205). The wet organic soils can be strongly impacted by livestock and heavy machinery, but the dense roots and rhizomes of Carex utriculata bind the soil and stabilize the site. Loss of the shallow water table, through soil damage and/or stream incision, will initially shift undergrowth composition towards drier graminoids and forbs. Willow regeneration will be limited, and the mature individuals will eventually become decadent. Carex utriculata provides a very high level of streambank stabilization.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Western Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 16Jun2005
Element Description Author(s): G. Kittel

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]. 2006-2017. Tracked natural plant communities. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. [https://cnhp.colostate.edu/ourdata/trackinglist/plant_communities/]

  • 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.

  • Cogan, D., K. Varga, and G. Kittel. 2005. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Final Project Report 2002-2005 Vegetation Mapping Project. Technical Memorandum 8260-06-02. USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO. 87 pp. plus Appendixes A-F.

  • Girard, M., D. L. Wheeler, and S. B. Mills. 1997. Classification of riparian communities on the Bighorn National Forest. R2-RR-97-02. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Sheridan, WY. 308 pp.

  • Hall, J. B., and P. L. Hansen. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Riparian and Wetland Research Program, School of Forestry, University of Montana. Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Technical Bulletin No. 97-11. 381 pp.

  • 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., 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.

  • 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).

  • 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. 1992c. A preliminary classification of riparian vegetation types of the Medicine Bow Range and the Sierra Madre. Report submitted to the Medicine Bow National Forest. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (The Nature Conservancy), Laramie, WY.

  • Jones, G., and S. Ogle. 2000. Characterization abstracts for vegetation types on the Bighorn, Medicine Bow, and Shoshone national forests. Prepared for USDA Forest Service, Region 2 by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming.

  • Kettler, S., and A. McMullen. 1996. Routt National Forest riparian vegetation classification. Report prepared for Routt National Forest by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Kittel, G. M., and N. D. Lederer. 1993. A preliminary classification of the riparian vegetation of the Yampa and San Miguel/Dolores river basins. Unpublished report prepared for Colorado Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency by The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Field Office, Boulder.

  • Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 1987. Riparian zone associations - Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema national forests. Technical Paper 279-87. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 171 pp.

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

  • Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.

  • Mutz, K. M., and J. Queiroz. 1983. Riparian community classification for the Centennial Mountains and South Fork Salmon River, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region under contract 53-84M8-2-0048 by Meiiji Resource Consultants, Layton, UT. 168 pp.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Peterson, E. B. 2008. International Vegetation Classification alliances and associations occurring in Nevada with proposed additions. Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Carson City, NV. 348 pp.

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  • Reznicek, A. A. 1987. Key to Carex rostrata complex in North America. Unpublished key. 3 pp.

  • Rice, P. M., E. W. Schweiger, W. Gustafson, C. Lea, D. Manier, D. Shorrock, B. Frakes, and L. O?Gan. 2012c. Vegetation classification and mapping project report, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. Natural Resource Report NPS/ROMN/NRR--2012/589. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 176 pp.

  • Salas, D., J. Stevens, and K. Schulz. 2005. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Technical Memorandum No. 8260-05-02. USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO. 161 pp. plus Appendices A-L (733 pp.).

  • Tuhy, J. S., and S. Jensen. 1982. Riparian classification for the Upper Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon River drainages, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region by White Horse Associates, Smithfield, UT. 183 pp.

  • WNDD [Wyoming Natural Diversity Database]. No date. Unpublished data on file. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • Walford, G., G. Jones, W. Fertig, S. Mellman-Brown, and K. Houston. 2001. Riparian and wetland plant community types of the Shoshone National Forest. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-85. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO. 122 pp.

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

  • Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985a. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 78 pp.


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