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Carex aperta Lowland Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Columbian Sedge Lowland Wet Meadow
Common Name: Columbian Sedge Lowland Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CEGL001801
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This plant association occupies lakeshores, river floodplains, and wet meadows in western and south-central Montana, and western Washington. It occurs in low-lying areas with prolonged seasonal flooding. The association is characterized by nearly pure stands of Carex aperta with lesser amounts of Poa palustris, Argentina anserina, Bidens cernua, Bidens frondosa, Ludwigia palustris, Polygonum amphibium, and Erysimum cheiranthoides. Habitat in northwestern Oregon is mostly low-elevation floodplains, but one site is known from a montane fen. Stands are seasonally flooded but are dry by mid to late summer. This association is thought to have been more widespread historically before diking and farming of the Columbia River lowlands and the advent of exotic cultivars of Phalaris arundinacea. The few known stands that remain are either nearly monotypic Carex aperta in depressions too wet for Phalaris arundinacea, or in mixed stands dominated by Phalaris arundinacea. Elsewhere, it has been completely displaced by Phalaris arundinacea. The sedge itself is not rare but it is never plentiful. Most of the ten plots sampled here represent the monotypic expression because these have the fewest exotic species present. They may represent only the wettest end of the historic moisture gradient occupied by the association. Trees are absent or peripheral but would include Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra and Fraxinus latifolia. Shrubs reported include Spiraea douglasii, Sambucus racemosa, and the exotic Rubus armeniacus, but all have low constancy and cover. Ten species are reported from the herb layer, Carex aperta being the most abundant with average cover of 88% and ranging from 62-98%. Phalaris arundinacea is the second most abundant species and would be more abundant if more mixed stands were sampled. Other species observed but not recorded in plots are Polygonum amphibium, Bidens cernua, Bidens frondosa, and Ludwigia palustris. Carex aperta once formed "extensive meadows on overflow bottomlands in the valley of the Columbia and its tributaries...largely cut for hay and regarded by farmers as the best forage sedge," and it was "common about Columbia Slough etc." (Gorman 1926). Piper and Beattie (1915) said it was "the common hay sedge of the Columbia River bottoms." It probably extended from Longview to Skamania and into the Willamette Valley as well. Like Willamette Valley prairie and savanna that have suffered so many losses, the original species composition of this association will probably never be known with certainty.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification is based on field data collected in Washington and Montana as recently as 1998. Limited data are available to determine if stands in Washington and Oregon represent the same plant association reported in Montana.

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 Vancouverian Lowland Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Vancouverian Freshwater Wet Meadow & Marsh
Alliance Columbian Sedge 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
Idaho Carex aperta Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Carex aperta Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta Marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Piper, C. V., and R. K. Beattie. 1915. Flora of the northwest coast. New Era Printing Company, Lancaster, PA. 418 pp.
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Murray, M. P. 2000. Wetland plant associations of the western hemlock zone in the central coastal and westslope Cascade Mountains. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, OR. 82 pp. [http://www.natureserve.org/nhp/us/or/nw_or_wetlands.pdf]
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Boggs, K., P. Hansen, R. Pfister, and J. Joy. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in northwestern Montana. Draft version I. Report prepared for the Montana Riparian Association and Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula. 216 pp.
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta community type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kunze, L. M. 1994. Preliminary classification of native, low elevation, freshwater wetland vegetation in western Washington. Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. 120 pp.
Related Concept Name: Carex aperta marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Gorman, M. W. 1926. List of plants in the vicinity of Portland, Ore. Undated manuscript [Gorman died before its completion]. Special Collections, University of Oregon Library, Eugene. 160 pp.
Related Concept Name: Carex aquatilis Habitat Type
Relationship: I - Intersecting
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.874 Willamette Valley Wet Prairie
CES306.812 Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1? (30Nov1998)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Carex aperta Wet Meadow (CEGL001801) occurs in areas that are saturated throughout the growing season on floodplains and the shorelines of lakes. It was reported as being historically widespread in Washington, but its extent has been reduced by flood control, grazing, and invasion of exotic species. Only a few stands are currently known to occur in Washington, Oregon and western Montana. None have been found in Idaho, but inventory there is not complete. The majority of the known stands were reported as being in poor condition. In Oregon, stands are reported as coastal and may represent an association that is distinct from the inland stands.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: IDpotentially occurs, MT, OR, WA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: The association is known from southwestern Washington, western Oregon, western Montana, and south-central Montana.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Forest - Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M333 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Flathead Valley Section
Section Code: M333B 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 Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Rubus discolor G1 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Carex aperta G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Phalaris arundinacea G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones
Element Description Edition Date: 10Jun2006
Element Description Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones, M.J. Russo, after Christy (2004)
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Nov1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones

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


References
  • Boggs, K., P. Hansen, R. Pfister, and J. Joy. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in northwestern Montana. Draft version I. Report prepared for the Montana Riparian Association and Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula. 216 pp.

  • 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.

  • Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.

  • Christy, J. A., and J. A. Putera. 1993. Lower Columbia River Natural Area Inventory, 1992. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland. 75 pp.

  • Gorman, M. W. 1926. List of plants in the vicinity of Portland, Ore. Undated manuscript [Gorman died before its completion]. Special Collections, University of Oregon Library, Eugene. 160 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).

  • Jankovsky-Jones, M., S. K. Rust, and R. K. Moseley. 1999. Riparian reference areas in Idaho: A catalog of plant associations and conservation sites. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-20. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 141 pp.

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. January 2004. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland. 52 pp.

  • Kunze, L. M. 1994. Preliminary classification of native, low elevation, freshwater wetland vegetation in western Washington. Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. 120 pp.

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

  • McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.

  • Murray, M. P. 2000. Wetland plant associations of the western hemlock zone in the central coastal and westslope Cascade Mountains. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, OR. 82 pp. [http://www.natureserve.org/nhp/us/or/nw_or_wetlands.pdf]

  • Piper, C. V., and R. K. Beattie. 1915. Flora of the northwest coast. New Era Printing Company, Lancaster, PA. 418 pp.

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2018. Unpublished data files. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.

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


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