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Carex cusickii Fen
Translated Name: Cusick's Sedge Fen
Unique Identifier: CEGL000230
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a minor association throughout its range of the northern Rocky Mountains of Washington and Idaho, and the Blue Mountains of Oregon. It appears within mid to lower montane coniferous forests at 823-1616 m (2700-5300 feet) elevation in narrow to broad, 1-5% gradient valleys. This is a hummocky fen community usually associated with the accumulating margins of old beaver ponds or with fens in wet basins and springs. It can be found growing over stumps and logs, which contributes to the very hummocky appearance and standing water between the hummocks. Soils are organic and remain wet high in the soil profile through the growing season. This fen association is dominated by Carex cusickii with very few other species. Carex utriculata, Polemonium occidentale, Comarum palustre, and Glyceria striata are the most commonly associated species, although they are usually obscured by Carex cusickii. Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia is a constant but sparsely appearing companion shrub in this community.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The Carex cusickii communities reported by Crowe and Clausnitzer (1997), Kovalchik (2001) and Jankovsky-Jones (1997a) are highly variable and are held together in this association only by the dominance of Carex cusickii. Carex utriculata is the most constant sedge in both USFS publications (11 of 16 plots). Species of Sphagnum are not mentioned in these interior Pacific Northwest studies. This association is not the Carex cusickii - (Menyanthes trifoliata) Fen (CEGL003332) found in the coastal Willamette Valley-Puget Trough-Frasier region. Sphagnum species are important in the more coastal type.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.2 - Temperate to Polar Bog & Fen
Division 2.C.2.Na - North American Bog & Fen
Macrogroup North American Boreal & Subboreal Alkaline Fen
Group Rocky Mountain Alkaline Fen
Alliance Rocky Mountain Alkaline Sedge Graminoid Fen

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003332 Carex cusickii - (Menyanthes trifoliata) 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
Idaho Carex cusickii Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carex cusickii
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.
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: ? - Undetermined
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 cusickii 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.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., B. L. Kovalchik, and M. J. Kerr. 2004. Riparian and wetland vegetation of central and eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Portland. 473 pp. [http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/ publications.html]
Related Concept Name: Cusick's sedge (CACU2) Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 2004. Classification and management of aquatic, riparian, and wetland sites on the national forests of eastern Washington: Series description. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-593. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. In cooperation with Pacific Northwest Region, Colville, Okanogan, and Wenatchee national forests. 354 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (17Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This fen association appears near ponds and is associated with wet basins and springs within narrow geographic and ecological ranges. It is restricted to the Selkirk Mountains in the western Canadian Rockies in Washington and Idaho and to the Blue Mountains of Oregon. It is likely to occur to the north in adjacent British Columbia. Most occurrences are in good condition in the Washington and Idaho locations, since the only disturbances reflect altered hydrology. The invasive and exotic species Phalaris arundinacea and Ranunculus repens degrade the condition of occurrences. Damage caused by livestock is reported in Oregon.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CApotentially occurs, ID, OR, WA
Canadian Province Distribution: BCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: This association is currently known from the northern Rockies of Washington and Idaho and in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington. It is likely to occur in adjacent British Columbia. In northeast Washington and adjacent Idaho, it is restricted to the Selkirk Mountains. It is found at moderate elevations throughout the Blue Mountains in Oregon.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Mountains Section
Section Code: M332G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Forest - Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M333 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Okanogan Highlands Section
Section Code: M333A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This fen association is dominated by Carex cusickii with very few other species. Carex utriculata, Polemonium occidentale, Comarum palustre, and Glyceria striata (= Glyceria elata) are the most commonly associated species, although they are usually obscured by Carex cusickii. Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia is a constant but sparsely appearing companion shrub in this community. The invasive and exotic species Phalaris arundinacea and Ranunculus repens degrade the condition of occurrences.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Ranunculus repens G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex cusickii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Phalaris arundinacea G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): R.C. Crawford
Element Description Edition Date: 17Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): R.C. Crawford
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): R.C. Crawford

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


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

  • Crowe, E. A., B. L. Kovalchik, and M. J. Kerr. 2004. Riparian and wetland vegetation of central and eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Portland. 473 pp. [http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/ publications.html]

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. No date. Unpublished data on file at Idaho Conservation Data Center, Department of Fish and Game, Boise, ID.

  • Jankovsky-Jones, M. 1997a. Conservation strategy for southeastern Idaho wetlands. Unpublished report on file at Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Conservation Data Center, Boise, ID. 39 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 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]

  • Kovalchik, B. L., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 2004. Classification and management of aquatic, riparian, and wetland sites on the national forests of eastern Washington: Series description. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-593. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. In cooperation with Pacific Northwest Region, Colville, Okanogan, and Wenatchee national forests. 354 pp.

  • 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]

  • Titus, J. H., M. Kerr, E. Crowe, and B. Kovalchik. 1998. Riparian zones of eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland.

  • 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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