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Spartina patens - Eleocharis parvula Marsh
Translated Name: Saltmeadow Cordgrass - Dwarf Spikerush Marsh
Common Name: Northeastern Atlantic Brackish Interdunal Swale
Unique Identifier: CEGL006342
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This brackish, interdunal swale and overwash community of the northeastern Atlantic Coast occurs in low areas behind primary or secondary sand dunes. The substrate is sand with little or no organic accumulation. The water source for this wetland community is variable, including seasonally high groundwater table, salt spray, and sporadic tidal overwash, resulting in widely variable salinity levels. The dominant species is generally Spartina patens, but it can be Eleocharis parvula, Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens), Cyperus polystachyos, and/or Juncus articulatus. Associated species depend on salinity and hydrology and can include Leptochloa fusca ssp. fascicularis (= Diplachne maritima), Schoenoplectus maritimus (= Scirpus maritimus), Schoenoplectus robustus, Mikania scandens, Juncus ambiguus (= Juncus bufonius var. halophila), Juncus scirpoides, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Rumex maritimus, Symphyotrichum subulatum (= Aster subulatus), Chenopodium rubrum, Pluchea odorata, Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. moscheutos (= Hibiscus palustris), Polygonum ramosissimum, Triglochin maritima, Panicum virgatum, Schoenoplectus robustus, and Argentina anserina (= Potentilla anserina). Iva frutescens and Baccharis halimifolia may occur on hummocks within the swale. Mats of blue-green and/or brown algae can proliferate across the soil surface.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is similar to coastal salt pond vegetation, Schoenoplectus pungens - Eleocharis parvula Salt Marsh (CEGL006398).

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 Northern & Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetland
Alliance Common Threesquare Interdunal Swale

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004097 Spartina patens - Schoenoplectus pungens - Solidago sempervirens Grassland
CEGL006398 Schoenoplectus pungens - Eleocharis parvula Salt 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
Maryland Spartina patens - Eleocharis parvula Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
Massachusetts Interdunal Marsh/Swale Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Jersey Spartina patens - Eleocharis parvula Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Brackish Interdunal Swales Equivalent   Edinger et al. 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Spartina patens - Eleocharis parvula 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: TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Coastal interdunal marsh/swale
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Wet Grassland
Relationship: B - Broader
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.
Related Concept Name: Overwash Community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Lea, C. 2002b. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore, Addendum (version 2) - March 1, 2002. Unpublished draft. National Park Service. 31 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G4 (06Sep2013)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, VA
Canadian Province Distribution: QC
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association is currently described from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. It likely occurs in other states.

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 association is dominated by graminoids, especially Spartina patens, Eleocharis parvula, Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens), Cyperus polystachyos, and Juncus articulatus, although local dominance can change from year to year. Associated species depend on salinity and hydrology and can include Leptochloa fusca ssp. fascicularis (= Diplachne maritima), Schoenoplectus maritimus (= Scirpus maritimus), Schoenoplectus robustus, Mikania scandens, Juncus ambiguus (= Juncus bufonius var. halophila), Juncus scirpoides, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Rumex maritimus, Symphyotrichum subulatum (= Aster subulatus), Chenopodium rubrum, Pluchea odorata, Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. moscheutos (= Hibiscus palustris), Polygonum ramosissimum, Triglochin maritima, Panicum virgatum, Schoenoplectus robustus, and Argentina anserina (= Potentilla anserina). Iva frutescens and Baccharis halimifolia may occur on hummocks within the swale. Mats of blue-green and/or brown algae can proliferate across the soil surface. Phragmites australis can readily invade in this environmental setting.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Eleocharis parvula G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Phragmites australis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Schoenoplectus pungens G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Spartina patens G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occupies brackish interdunal swales and overwash flats between coastal sand dunes. Surface water is oligo- to mesohaline; the dune surface intersects the freshwater lens with salinity input from salt spray and/or storm tide overwash. Substrate is deep sand with or without a layer of surficial peat.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Brackish swale vegetation can be ephemeral or can represent early stages of salt marsh or coastal salt pond development (Reschke 1990). Overwash flats can succeed into dune grasslands with sand accumulation and plant burial.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D. Hunt and L.A. Sneddon, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 06Sep2013
Element Description Author(s): D. Hunt, S.L. Neid and 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
  • 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.

  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

  • Dowhan, J. J., and R. Rozsa. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk Country, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116:265-282.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Edinger, G. J., A. L. Feldmann, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gateway National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/107. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 283 pp.

  • 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., 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.

  • 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., 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.

  • Hunt, D. 1997b. Classification of brackish interdunal swales. Unpublished materials. New York Natural Heritage Program, Latham, NY.

  • Klopfer, S. D., A. Olivero, L. Sneddon, and J. Lundgren. 2002. Final report of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Project at Fire Island National Seashore. Conservation Management Institute, GIS & Remote Sensing Division, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. 193 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2002b. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore, Addendum (version 2) - March 1, 2002. Unpublished draft. National Park Service. 31 pp.

  • Lundgren, J. A. 1998. Natural communities of coastal Massachusetts: Inventory and assessment. Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Boston, MA.

  • NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service]. 2001b. Soil survey of Gateway National Recreation Area, New York and New Jersey. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDI National Park Service, Gateway National Recreation Area in partnership with Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station and New York City Soil and Water Conservation District.

  • Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.

  • 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.

  • Sneddon, L., and J. Lundgren. 2001. Vegetation classification of Fire Island National Seashore and William Floyd Estate. Final Draft. TNC/ABI Vegetation Mapping Program. 87 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.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.


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