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Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata Sea Level Fen
Translated Name: Smooth Sawgrass - Spoonleaf Sundew - Beaked Spikerush Sea Level Fen
Common Name: Atlantic Sea Level Fen
Unique Identifier: CEGL006310
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association comprises "sea-level fens" of the central and north Atlantic Coast. These are small-patch communities occurring at the edge of salt marshes adjacent to sandy or gravelly slopes where there is acidic, oligotrophic groundwater seepage. Although its association with salt marshes is diagnostic, it is only infrequently influenced by salt or brackish overwash during unusually high tides. The physiognomy is dominated by herbs, occasionally with some scattered shrubs or short trees. The diagnostic species include Cladium mariscoides, Rhynchospora alba, Eleocharis rostellata, Drosera intermedia, and Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens). Other associated species may include Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Carex exilis, Carex hormathodes, Carex leptalea, Eleocharis fallax, Juncus canadensis, Juncus pelocarpus, Lysimachia terrestris, Rosa palustris, Vaccinium macrocarpon, Sanguisorba canadensis, Teucrium canadense, and Schoenoplectus americanus (= Scirpus americanus) and Eriocaulon decangulare in the southern portion of the association range. Woody species occurring at low cover may include Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica), Baccharis halimifolia, Juniperus virginiana, Iva frutescens, and in the southern portion of the range, Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera). Substrate is sedgy peat over sand or gravel.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

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 Plain Wet Prairie & Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain River & Basin Freshwater Marsh
Alliance Riverside Savanna & Sea Level Fen

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004628 Eleocharis fallax - Eleocharis rostellata - Schoenoplectus americanus - Sagittaria lancifolia Tidal Marsh
CEGL006467 Cladium mariscoides - Eriocaulon decangulare - Eriophorum virginicum Fen



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
Connecticut Twigrush - Spoonleaf sundew - Beaked spikerush (Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata) community Equivalent Certain Metzler and Barrett 2006
Delaware Sea Level Fen Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
Massachusetts Sea-Level Fen Equivalent   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Jersey Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Sea Level Fen Equivalent   Edinger et al. 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Strakosch Walz, K., L. Kelly, K. Anderson, and S. J. Stanford. 2007. The sea level fens, tidal freshwater marshes and tidal brackish marshes of New Jersey. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, Office of Natural Lands Management, Natural Heritage Program, Trenton, NJ. 189 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cladium mariscoides - Drosera intermedia - Eleocharis rostellata community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis rostellata - Eriocaulon decangulare - Cladium mariscoides Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Myrica cerifera / Eriocaulon decangulare - Eleocharis rostellata Sparse Shrubland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.
Related Concept Name: Sea-Level Fen
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Ludwig, C. J. 1995. An overview of sea-level fens. Unpublished report of November 30, 1995. Virginia Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 4 pp.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.519 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Tidal Salt Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (14Nov1997)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community, known locally as a sea-level fen, is naturally restricted to a unique habitat: areas of freshwater seepage adjacent to salt marshes. Occurrences are known from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Virginia, and Rhode Island, with possible occurrences in New Jersey and Maryland. The community is small in size, generally less than an acre to a maximum of five acres at the largest known site. Only 12 occurrences are known; with further inventory, a possible 15-18 may exist in total. Total acreage of all potential occurrences is very likely to be less than 15 acres. Threats include upland development, as well as altered hydrology.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DE, MA, MD, NHpotentially occurs, NJ, NY, RI, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type occurs from Virginia to Massachusetts, and possibly New Hampshire.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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 fen vegetation has a very diverse species composition of estuarine and palustrine species. Eleocharis rostellata, Cladium mariscoides, Carex hormathodes, Drosera intermedia, and Eriocaulon decangulare (the latter in the southern portion of the range) are often dominant. Common associates include Carex exilis, Carex leptalea, Eleocharis fallax, Iris prismatica, Juncus pelocarpus, Juncus canadensis, Lysimachia terrestris, Rhynchospora alba, Rosa palustris, Schoenoplectus pungens, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Triadenum virginicum, Toxicodendron radicans. and others. Many species of acidic fens can occur in this community, and, as it has rather specific environmental parameters, several rare species occur in this habitat.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Drosera intermedia G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Cladium mariscoides G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Eleocharis rostellata G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Sea level fens occur at the edge of salt marshes adjacent to sandy or gravelly slopes where there is acidic, oligotrophic groundwater seepage. These fens are situated just above high tide levels and receive infrequent saline or brackish overwash only during unusually high tides. Substrate is sedgy peat over sand or gravel.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association occurs at the interface of salt marsh and groundwater seepage from the adjacent upland.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Ludwig, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 10May2002
Element Description Author(s): C. Ludwig and S.L. Neid
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Nov1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): 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
  • Berdine, M. A. 1998. Maryland vegetation classification. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD.

  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • Breden, T. F., Y. R. Alger, K. S. Walz, and A. G. Windisch. 2001. Classification of vegetation communities of New Jersey: Second iteration. Association for Biodiversity Information and New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • 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.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • 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., 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.

  • Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., and P. Stango, III. 2003. Shrubland tidal wetland communities of Maryland's Eastern Shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 118 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Ludwig, C. J. 1995. An overview of sea-level fens. Unpublished report of November 30, 1995. Virginia Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 4 pp.

  • Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.

  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.

  • NatureServe. 2009. Vegetation of the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. International Ecological Classification Standard: Terrestrial Ecological Classifications. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, VA. U.S.A. Data current as of 1 December 2009.

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Strakosch Walz, K., L. Kelly, K. Anderson, and S. J. Stanford. 2007. The sea level fens, tidal freshwater marshes and tidal brackish marshes of New Jersey. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, Office of Natural Lands Management, Natural Heritage Program, Trenton, NJ. 189 pp.

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2001. Classification of natural communities of Massachusetts. September 2001 draft. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.


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