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Salix (boothii, geyeriana) / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: (Booth's Willow, Geyer's Willow) / Water Sedge Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL001176
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association commonly occurs between 1220 to 2440 m (4000-8000 feet) elevation in the mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington, central and eastern Idaho, and northern Utah. The association occurs on floodplains, streambanks, and pond margins, sometimes upstream of beaver dams, but also adjacent to seeps or springs. Sites are usually located in moderate to broad low-gradient valleys and headwater basins of small to moderate-sized streams (orders 1 to 3). Such locations are subirrigated and have saturated surface conditions in the early summer, but are drier than perennially ponded areas (promoting Carex aquatilis understory dominance). Soils are derived from fine-textured alluvium and include silty, sandy, or clayey loams. Tall Salix boothii (usually with between 20 and 50% cover) dominates this association, and Salix geyeriana (with cover less than that of Salix boothii) is often subdominant. Various conifers, Alnus incana, Salix drummondiana, Salix lemmonii, or other tall shrubs are occasionally present with low cover. There is usually a low-shrub understory composed of Betula glandulosa and Lonicera involucrata, with Salix wolfii or Ribes spp. also sometimes present with low cover. Carex aquatilis clearly dominates the herbaceous understory, usually with between 30 and 60% cover. Other graminoid species are intermixed, each with low constancy and low cover, including Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex microptera, Carex utriculata, Deschampsia cespitosa, Juncus arcticus ssp. littoralis, and Scirpus microcarpus. Forbs are diverse, but generally low in cover, the most common including Aconitum columbianum, Geum macrophyllum, and Polemonium occidentale.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association is defined as a PNV vegetation type. Padgett et al. (1989) clearly delineate this association, and stands clearly dominated by Salix boothii and Carex aquatilis have been sampled by other researchers. However, researchers from eastern Oregon lumped stands of Salix boothii / Carex aquatilis within the broader Salix / Carex aquatilis association based on the lack of a single dominant Salix species (Kovalchik 1987, Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997). Tuhy (1981) and Mutz and Queiroz (1983) did not separate Salix boothii / Carex aquatilis from Salix drummondiana - Salix boothii / Carex rostrata - Carex aquatilis in central Idaho. Kovalchik (2001) identified a Salix / Carex rostrata association in eastern Washington that is usually dominated by Salix drummondiana, but which sometimes has moderate to high cover of Salix boothii, Salix geyeriana, and/or Carex aquatilis. Norton et al. (1981) and Youngblood et al. (1985a) did not have enough data to support separating Salix boothii / Carex aquatilis from Salix boothii / Carex rostrata (Carex rostrata consistently has higher constancy and cover). Some Salix boothii / Carex rostrata and Salix boothii / mesic graminoid stands have high cover of Carex aquatilis (Norton et al. 1981, Padgett et al. 1989, Walford et al. 2001). Salix geyeriana associations are always dominated by Salix geyeriana with less cover of Salix boothii. Salix boothii is sometimes present in short willow associations with understories dominated by Carex aquatilis (Hansen et al. 1995, Walford et al. 2001, Crowe et al. 2002). This may warrant a name change to Salix boothii / Carex aquatilis. However, at this time, many stands dominated by either Salix boothii or Salix geyeriana, or both, are described in the literature under one name by researchers (see above). Until further research distinguishes two distinct associations, we recommend tracking them under the current name.

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
CEGL002656 Salix monticola / Carex aquatilis 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 boothii (geyeriana) / Carex aquatilis Shrubland Equivalent Certain IDCDC unpubl. data
Oregon Salix boothii - Salix geyeriana / Carex aquatilis var. aquatilis Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Salix / Carex aquatilis
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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 boothii - Salix geyeriana / Carex aquatilis Association
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Crowe, E., B. Kovalchik, M. J. Kerr, J. Titus, and J. S. Kagan. 2002. Riparian and wetland plant communities of eastern Oregon. Draft report. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Salix boothii / Carex aquatilis Community Type
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.
Related Concept Name: Salix spp. / Carex aquatilis
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1997. Mid-montane wetland plant associations of the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-22-97. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.866 North Pacific Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
CES306.832 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (22Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is a wide-ranging, but infrequently observed, association usually restricted to wet soils of mid-elevation montane floodplains, streambanks, seeps, and ponds in relatively broad, low-gradient valleys and basins. It is most frequently encountered in central and southeastern Idaho, although it is confirmed to occur in eastern Oregon, northern Utah, and other scattered locations in the Intermountain West. Throughout its range, stands of this association are often poorly defined, with similar composition and environmental conditions as stands dominated by Salix geyeriana or Salix drummondiana with prominent Carex utriculata in the understory. These intergrading stands have been included within different associations by numerous researchers. Clearly defined stands dominated by Salix boothii and Carex aquatilis exist, but are apparently uncommon. There are only about 30 known occurrences of this association. This association is under-represented in protected areas. It is threatened by livestock overgrazing that leads to Poa pratensis invasion and hydrologic conditions promoting drier Salix boothii stands.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CApotentially occurs, CO, ID, OR, UT, WA
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association is frequently encountered in central and southeastern Idaho, and is confirmed to occur in eastern Oregon, northern Utah, and Washington. It is suspected to occur in northern Colorado, western Montana, California and British Columbia.

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
Section Name: Bear Lake Section
Section Code: 342E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Marine Regime Mountains
Province Name: Cascade Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M242 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Eastern Cascades Section
Section Code: M242C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Domain Name: Dry Domain
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
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
Section Name: Blue Mountains Section
Section Code: M332G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Tall Salix boothii (usually with between 20 and 50% cover) dominates this association, and Salix geyeriana (with cover less than that of Salix boothii) is often subdominant. Various conifers, Alnus incana, Salix drummondiana, Salix lemmonii, or other tall shrubs are occasionally present with low cover. There is usually a low-shrub understory composed of Betula glandulosa and Lonicera involucrata, with Salix wolfii or Ribes spp. also sometimes present with low cover. Carex aquatilis clearly dominates the herbaceous understory, usually with between 30 and 60% cover. Other graminoid species are intermixed, each with low constancy and low cover, including Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex microptera, Carex utriculata, Deschampsia cespitosa, Juncus arcticus ssp. littoralis (= Juncus balticus), and Scirpus microcarpus. Forbs are diverse, but generally low in cover, the most common including Aconitum columbianum, Geum macrophyllum, and Polemonium occidentale.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Salix boothii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salix geyeriana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Carex aquatilis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The association occurs on floodplains, streambanks, and pond margins, sometimes upstream of beaver dams, but also adjacent to seeps or springs. Sites are usually located in moderate to broad low-gradient valleys and headwater basins of small to moderate-sized streams (orders 1 to 3). Such locations are subirrigated and have saturated surface conditions in the early summer, but are drier than perennially ponded areas (promoting Carex aquatilis understory dominance). Soils are derived from fine-textured alluvium and include silty, sandy, or clayey loams.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Grazing must be light and prevented until late summer to avoid compacting and damaging wet organic soils (Kovalchik 1987, Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997). Overgrazing reduces cover and vigor of both Salix boothii and Carex aquatilis and promotes other graminoids (Juncus spp., Poa pratensis) and unpalatable mesic forbs. Overgrazing tramples and breaks the soil, reduces roots and rhizomes that anchor streambanks, and allows erosional downcutting or overwidening of streams (Kovalchik 1987, Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997). Salix boothii and Carex aquatilis growth can be rejuvenated with a rest from grazing and by burning with quick, moderate-intensity fires in late summer and fall (Hansen et al. 1995). Both Salix boothii and Carex aquatilis readily resprout from roots and rhizomes, however, it takes about 5 years for the community to grow large enough to withstand grazing. These species also produce large amounts of seeds that quickly colonize fine and moist, disturbed mineral soil (Kovalchik 1987, Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997). These species are adapted to cold and flooding, though too much inundation or drought will kill them. The association is stable unless overgrazing or other disturbance reduces willow and sedge cover allowing weeds, forbs, and less palatable graminoids to increase. As disturbance-induced species, including Poa pratensis, invade, streambanks lose stability and streams downcut. The water table eventually lowers causing further changes in community composition toward drier types (Kovalchik 1987, Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Padgett et al. (1989)
Element Description Edition Date: 22Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): C. Murphy
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Murphy

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.

  • Crowe, E. A., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1997. Mid-montane wetland plant associations of the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-22-97. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.

  • Crowe, E., B. Kovalchik, M. J. Kerr, J. Titus, and J. S. Kagan. 2002. Riparian and wetland plant communities of eastern Oregon. Draft report. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland, OR.

  • 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. L., S. W. Chadde, and R. D. Pfister. 1988b. Riparian dominance types of Montana. University of Montana Miscellaneous Publication 49. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Missoula. 411 pp.

  • Hansen, P. L., and J. B. Hall. 2002. Classification and management of the USDI Bureau of Land Management's riparian and wetland sites in eastern and southern Idaho. Unpublished draft prepared for the Upper Snake River District, Bureau of Land Management, by Bitterroot Restoration, Inc., Corvallis, MT.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2002. Unpublished riparian and wetland association occurrence and plot data on file at the Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, ID.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 2001. Classification and management of aquatic, riparian and wetland sites on the national forests of eastern Washington. Part 1: The series descriptions. 429 pp. plus appendix. [http://www.reo.gov/col/wetland_classification/wetland_classification.pdf]

  • 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.

  • Nez Perce National Forest. 1999b. Riparian ECODATA plots, 1987-1995. Unpublished data on file at the Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, ID.

  • Norton, B. E., J. Tuhy, and S. Jensen. 1981. Riparian community classification for the Grey's River, Wyoming. Unpublished final report prepared by Department of Range Science, Utah State University, Logan for USDA Forest Service, Region 4, Ogden, UT. 188 pp.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1988b. Riparian community type classification of Utah. Publication R4-ECOL-88-01. USDA Forest Service, Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • 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.

  • Tuhy, J. S. 1981. Stream bottom community classification for the Sawtooth Valley, Idaho. Unpublished thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow. 230 pp.

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2002. Unpublished riparian and wetland association occurrence and plot data on file at Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.

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

  • 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.

  • Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985b. Riparian community type classification of northern Utah and adjacent Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 104 pp.


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