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Eleocharis baldwinii - Hydrocotyle (ranunculoides, umbellata) Tidal Marsh
Translated Name: Baldwin's Spikerush - (Floating Marsh-pennywort, Many-flower Marsh-pennywort) Tidal Marsh
Common Name: Spikerush Tidal Freshwater Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL007893
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This fresh spikerush marsh is a prominent fresh flotant marsh (thin mat) type recently (1998) recognized in Louisiana in the Deltaic Plain, and it is apparently becoming more common. This type is codominated by Eleocharis baldwinii and Hydrocotyle spp., mainly Hydrocotyle ranunculoides and Hydrocotyle umbellata; Bidens laevis is a frequent codominant. Species richness in this marsh type is moderate. This association (Fresh Spikerush Marsh) appears to represent degraded Panicum hemitomon Marsh (CEGL004665), which may convert to Fresh Spikerush Marsh as a consequence of intense herbivory (by nutria [or muskrat?]), changes in hydrology, changes in water quality, certain fire regimes, or other factors. It is unclear whether the type is a "natural" (i.e., non-anthropogenic) type or not. This marsh was described from Turtle Bayou in the western Terrebonne Basin of Louisiana. Its attribution to Jean Lafitte needs review and confirmation.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Fresh Spikerush Marsh is a prominent fresh marsh type recognized in Louisiana in the Deltaic Plain, apparently increasing in area (C. Sasser pers. comm. 1998). Not recognized by Visser et al. (1998) in their analysis of 1968 marsh data for the same area. In Louisiana, present only in the Deltaic Plain. The type should remain a conservation target despite questions about its naturalness; it may yet prove to be a natural type in coastal Louisiana, and of value for biodiversity conservation. Sasser et al. have described additional fresh flotant types in recent years. The presence of this type at Jean Lafitte is thought to be unlikely (J. Visser pers. comm. 2015) and this attribution has been removed. Nolfo-Clements (2006) identified a thin-mat community at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve dominated or codominated by Eleocharis olivacea, Eleocharis radicans, and Eleocharis vivipara. Associated species included Hydrocotyle spp., Bacopa monnieri, Ludwigia repens, and occasionally Micranthemum umbrosum, Sagittaria latifolia, Pontederia cordata, Cyperus spp., Habenaria repens, Fuirena pumila, Juncus filipendulus, Ludwigia grandiflora (= Ludwigia uruguayensis), Alternanthera philoxeroides, Phyla lanceolata, Polygonum punctatum, and Schoenoplectus americanus. Occasional floating aquatic species include Salvinia minima, Lemna minor, Spirodela polyrrhiza, and Wolffiella gladiata. The relationship of this community to CEGL007893 is not clear, and it may be better affiliated with CEGL007081. More information is needed to better separate the fresh to oligohaline marshes along the coast of Louisiana into associations. These may be floating and non-floating and share many species [see Similar Associations]. These marshes appear to undergo seasonal shifts in vegetation composition. In addition, subsidence, sea-level rise, and hydrologic changes are likely causing shifts in species composition, adding to the difficulty in classifying this vegetation. In particular, the floristic differences among Eleocharis rostellata - Sagittaria lancifolia Oligohaline Tidal Marsh (CEGL007886) and Eleocharis baldwinii - Hydrocotyle (ranunculoides, umbellata) Tidal Marsh (CEGL007893), and Bacopa monnieri - Eleocharis spp. Thin Floating Marsh (CEGL007081) need further clarification.

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.Ne - Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Fresh-Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Fresh-Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
Alliance Gulf Coast Arrowhead Tidal Freshwater Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004665 Panicum hemitomon Marsh
CEGL007886 Eleocharis rostellata - Sagittaria lancifolia Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
CEGL007889 Sagittaria lancifolia Mississippi River Deltaic Plain Tidal Marsh
CEGL007894 Sagittaria lancifolia - Typha spp. - Ludwigia spp. Tidal 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
Louisiana Freshwater Marsh Broader   Smith 1996


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis Thin Mat Marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sasser, C. E., J. G. Gosselink, E. M. Swenson, M. Swarzenski, and N. C. Leibowitz. 1996. Vegetation, substrate and hydrology in floating marshes in the Mississippi River delta plain wetlands, USA. Vegetatio 122:129-142.
Related Concept Name: Fresh Spikerush Marsh
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Visser, J. M., and C. E. Sasser. 1998. 1997 Coastal vegetation analysis. Unpublished report to Greg Steyer, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Baton Rouge, LA. Draft report November 20, 1998. 47 pp.
Related Concept Name: Freshwater Marsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.
Related Concept Name: Thin-mat
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Nolfo-Clements, L. E. 2006. Vegetative survey of wetland habitats at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in southeastern Louisiana. Southeastern Naturalist 5(3):499-514.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.470 Mississippi Delta Fresh and Oligohaline Tidal Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4Q (03Sep2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association (Fresh Spikerush Marsh) appears to represent degraded Fresh Maidencane Marsh. It is unclear whether the type is a "natural" (i.e., non-anthropogenic) type or not. Conservation status of this association needs to be reassessed. Threats to this system include altered hydrology and increases in salinity. The coast of Louisiana, including the fresh to oligohaline marshes, are being impacted by saltwater intrusion and inundation because the lack of sediment supply, eustatic sea-level rise and enhanced relative sea-level rise caused by the natural compaction of coastal sediments and the increased subsidence resulting from groundwater and oil and gas removal (USGS 2013b). Dredging canals that increase the connection between the fresh and oligohaline marshes and the saline waters of the Gulf also work to increase salinity and loss of these marshes (Deegan et al. 1984). While fresh to oligohaline marsh species have been shown to adapt to rising water levels, increased salinity has been shown to reduce the growth and survival of these species (Howard and Mendelssohn 1999, Willis and Hester 2004, Couvillon and Beck 2013, Neubauer 2013). As salinity increases fresh marsh composition shifts to species more tolerant of higher salinity, causing a reduction in species richness. If the increase in salinity is accompanied by increased water levels, this can ultimately result in conversion of marsh to open saline waters. These marshes are also threatened by reduced freshwater inflow caused by upstream dams and water diversion. Invasive plant species such as Triadica sebifera are threats. Some invasive exotic mammals are threats, such as nutria (Myocastor coypus) and feral hogs (Sus scrofa). An increase in storm intensities and barriers to landward marsh migration could further exacerbate the impacts of subsidence and sea-level rise. Other threats include pollution entering the marsh from point and nonpoint sources.

This is a highly threatened system in coastal Louisiana and conversion of marsh to open water has been high in Louisiana (Couvillion et al. 2011, USGS 2013b, Williams 2013). Coastal Louisiana has the highest rates of relative sea-level rise (>9 mm/year) in the nation (Williams 2013). A global eustatic sea-level rise of 0.5 to 2.0 m by A.D. 2100 when coupled with subsidence and barriers to the landward migration of marshes could result in devastating impacts on the coastal marshes of Louisiana (Neubauer 2013, Williams 2013). "Louisiana has sustained more coastal wetland loss than all other states in the continental United States combined" (Glick et al. 2013). SLAMM models predict 42 to 99% marsh and swamp loss in southeastern Louisiana by 2100 if eustatic sea-level rise exceeds 0.75 m (Glick et al. 2013). Ecological collapse in the system tends to result from hydrological alteration, increase in salinity, subsidence and lack of sediments from the Mississippi River to maintain marshes, eustatic sea-level rise, and resulting rise in relative sea level. Ecosystem collapse is characterized by conversion of the tidal herbaceous or shrub vegetation to mesohaline marshes or open water resulting in a loss of species richness.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: LA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This fresh spikerush marsh is a prominent fresh flotant marsh (thin mat) type recently (1998) recognized in Louisiana in the Deltaic Plain, and it is apparently becoming more common. It was originally described from Turtle Bayou in the western Terrebonne Basin of Louisiana (Sasser et al. 1996).

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: Louisiana Coast Prairies and Marshes Section
Section Code: 232E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The type is codominated by Eleocharis baldwinii and Hydrocotyle spp., mainly Hydrocotyle ranunculoides and Hydrocotyle umbellata; Bidens laevis is a frequent codominant. Species richness in this marsh type is moderate. Commonly occurring species include Typha spp., Sagittaria lancifolia, Eleocharis spp., Panicum hemitomon, Sagittaria latifolia, Ludwigia spp., Decodon verticillatus, Rhynchospora colorata (= Dichromena colorata), Sacciolepis striata, Zizaniopsis miliacea, and others (Sasser et al. 1996).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Triadica sebifera G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Bidens laevis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Hydrocotyle ranunculoides G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Hydrocotyle umbellata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Eleocharis baldwinii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Relative to other flotant marshes of the Mississippi Delta, this type occurs on relatively thin mats of peat.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association (Fresh Spikerush Marsh) appears to represent degraded Fresh Maidencane Marsh. It is postulated that Fresh Maidencane Marsh may convert to Fresh Spikerush Marsh as a consequence of intense herbivory (by nutria [or muskrat?]), changes in hydrology, changes in water quality, certain fire regimes or other factors (C. Sasser pers. comm.). It is unclear whether the type is a "natural" (i.e., non-anthropogenic) type or not.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.M. Smith
Element Description Edition Date: 06Oct2015
Element Description Author(s): L.M. Smith and M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Oct2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J. Teague

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


References
  • Couvillion, B. R., J. A. Barras, G. D. Steyer, W. Sleavin, M. Fischer, H. Beck, N. Trahan, B. Griffin, and D. Heckman. 2011. Land area change in coastal Louisiana from 1932 to 2010. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3164, scale 1:265,000. 12 pp. pamphlet.

  • Couvillion, B. R., and H. Beck. 2013. Marsh collapse thresholds for coastal Louisiana estimated using elevation and vegetation index data. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 63:58-67.

  • Deegan L. A., H. M. Kennedy, and C. Neill. 1984. Natural factors and human modifications contributing to marsh loss in Louisiana's Mississippi River deltaic plain. Environmental Management 8(6):519-528.

  • Glick, P., J. Clough, A. Polaczyk, B. Couvillion, and B. Nunley. 2013. Potential effects of sea-level rise on coastal wetlands in southeastern Louisiana. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 63:211-233.

  • Howard R. J., and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1999. Salinity as a constraint on growth of oligohaline marsh macrophytes. I. Species variation in stress tolerance. American Journal of Botany 86(6):785-794.

  • LNHP [Louisiana Natural Heritage Program]. 2009. Natural communities of Louisiana. Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Baton Rouge. 46 pp. [http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page_wildlife/6776-Rare%20Natural%20Communities/LA_NAT_COM.pdf]

  • NPS [National Park Service]. 2005. Jean Lafitte NHP 2005 Habitat Data Map (1:12,000) created by USGS-NWRC. Unpublished data shared by NPS.

  • Neubauer, S. C. 2013. Ecosystem responses of a tidal freshwater marsh experiencing saltwater intrusion and altered hydrology. Estuaries and Coasts 36:491-507.

  • Nolfo-Clements, L. E. 2006. Vegetative survey of wetland habitats at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in southeastern Louisiana. Southeastern Naturalist 5(3):499-514.

  • Sasser, C. E., J. G. Gosselink, E. M. Swenson, M. Swarzenski, and N. C. Leibowitz. 1996. Vegetation, substrate and hydrology in floating marshes in the Mississippi River delta plain wetlands, USA. Vegetatio 122:129-142.

  • Smith, L. 1999. Coastal marsh types currently recognized in Louisiana and relationships with existing types in ICEC-TNC. Draft report. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 20 pp.

  • Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • USGS [U.S. Geological Survey]. 2013b. Trends and causes of historical wetland loss in coastal Louisiana. Fact Sheet 2013-3017. U.S. Geological Survey. March 2013

  • Visser, J. M., C. E. Sasser, R. H. Chabreck, and R. G. Linscombe. 1998. Marsh vegetation types of the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. Estuaries 21(48):818-828.

  • Visser, J. M., and C. E. Sasser. 1998. 1997 Coastal vegetation analysis. Unpublished report to Greg Steyer, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Baton Rouge, LA. Draft report November 20, 1998. 47 pp.

  • Williams, S. J. 2013. Sea-level rise implications for coastal regions. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 63:184-196. [http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/msltrendstable.htm]

  • Willis, J. M., and M. W. Hester. 2004. Interactive effects of salinity, flooding, and soil type on Panicum hemitomon. Wetlands 24(1):43-50.


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