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Schoenoplectus americanus - Spartina patens Salt Marsh
Translated Name: Chairmaker's Bulrush - Saltmeadow Cordgrass Salt Marsh
Common Name: Transitional Tidal Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL006612
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This brackish marsh occurs in wet depressions at the upper reaches of irregularly flooded tidal marshes of the mid-Atlantic Coast. It occurs at the ecotone between low and high salt marsh zones. It is irregularly flooded, occurring just above the zone of regular tidal flooding, but is more frequently flooded than Spartina patens-dominated high marsh. This community is dominated by colonies of Schoenoplectus americanus, which often accounts for 40-75% of the total vegetation cover or codominant with Spartina patens at some sites. Associated species can include Pluchea odorata, Juncus roemerianus, Spartina alterniflora, Spartina cynosuroides, Distichlis spicata, and Limonium carolinianum plus Typha spp. and Phragmites australis. This community often grades into Spartina patens- or Juncus roemerianus-dominated high marsh landward or Spartina alterniflora- or Spartina cynosuroides-dominated low marsh seaward. This association is best developed where the elevation gradient across the marsh is more gradual, allowing for greater diversity of physical conditions of duration and frequency of flooding.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The halinity range of this vegetation is uncertain, but the relatively higher species diversity suggests lower halinity than that characteristic of Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - (Juncus gerardii) Salt Marsh (CEGL006006). It is unclear whether stands attributed to this type at North Landing River and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge represent the same vegetation. The prevailing tidal influence in these areas is generally wind-generated rather than strictly lunar (Coulling 2002).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.5 - Salt Marsh
Division 2.C.5.Nb - North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Macrogroup North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal High Salt Marsh
Alliance Eastern Saltmeadow Cordgrass High Salt Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004188 Schoenoplectus pungens Tidal Salt Marsh
CEGL008476 Schoenoplectus americanus - (Spartina patens) - Typha spp. 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
Delaware Transitional Tidal Marsh Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Schoenoplectus americanus - Spartina patens Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus americanus - Spartina patens Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
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.
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus americanus - Spartina patens Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus americanus Tidal 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: Spartina patens - Schoenoplectus americanus Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Oligohaline Marsh
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.
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
CES203.894 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Brackish Tidal Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (14Jul2016)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DEpotentially occurs, GApotentially occurs, MA, MD, NCpotentially occurs, NJ, SCpotentially occurs, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is currently described from mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. It possibly extends south to Georgia.

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: 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
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community is dominated by colonies of Schoenoplectus americanus, which often accounts for 40-75% of the total vegetation cover or codominant with Spartina patens at some sites. Associated species can include Pluchea odorata, Juncus roemerianus, Hibiscus moscheutos, Spartina alterniflora, Spartina cynosuroides, Distichlis spicata, Limonium carolinianum, and Typha spp. Phragmites australis also occurs in this vegetation. This community often grades into vegetation dominated by Spartina patens or Juncus roemerianus in high marsh landward and by vegetation dominated by Spartina alterniflora or Spartina cynosuroides in low marsh seaward. This vegetation does not typically occur along the edge of tidal channels.

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


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in wet depressions of high salt marshes and in the ecotone between low and high salt marsh zones. It is irregularly flooded, occurring just above the zone of regular tidal flooding, but is more frequently flooded than Spartina patens-dominated high marsh. This association is best developed where the elevation gradient across the marsh is more gradual, allowing for greater diversity of physical conditions of duration and frequency of flooding.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The species compositions of brackish marsh associations are likely related to gradients in salinity and duration of tidal flooding. Schoenoplectus americanus may dominate in areas with higher average water levels, lower salinities, and lower frequency of flooding than areas typically dominated by Spartina patens.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): P. Bowman and L.A. Sneddon, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 31May2007
Element Description Author(s): 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
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

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

  • 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.

  • Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 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.

  • 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., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. 2001. Herbaceous tidal wetland communities of Maryland's eastern shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Report submitted to the U.S. EPA (Clean Water Act 1998 State Wetlands Protection Development Grant Program). Biodiversity Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division. 30 June 2001. [U.S. EPA Reference Wetland Natural communities of Maryland's Herbaceous Tidal Wetlands Grant #CD993724].

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/129. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 369 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.


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