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Salix (melanopsis, sitchensis) Cobble Bar Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: (Dusky willow, Sitka Willow) Cobble Bar Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL002705
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This early-seral association occurs along low- to moderate-gradient mountain rivers and streams in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and central Idaho. Rivers and streams vary in size, but most are higher order streams flowing through wide canyons and trough or U-shaped valleys. This association is found at elevations as low as 560 m (1840 feet) in eastern Washington and up to 2134 m (7000 feet) elevation in eastern Oregon and central Idaho. Stands usually form on cobble-rich alluvial bars, with varying amounts of gravel and boulders intermixed, overlain by thin sandy deposits. Sites are point bars, sidebars, and mid-channel bars that are flood-scoured nearly every year, with minimal deposition of sand occurring in microsites with low fluvial energy. This association is typically dominated by Salix melanopsis, varying in size and cover (e.g., ranging from about 10 to 90% cover) depending on the amount of flood scouring and time since establishment. In some areas Salix sitchensis has high constancy and can be dominant, codominant, or subdominant in this association. Other Salix spp., especially Salix exigua, Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra, and Salix lutea are sometimes present but never dominant. Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa or Picea engelmannii seedlings and saplings are sometimes also present.. The herbaceous layer is generally sparse and low in diversity but highly variable across stands. The most common species are tolerant of flood scouring and seasonal desiccation and include "weedy" species adapted to disturbed and open sites (e.g., Achillea millefolium, Anaphalis margaritacea, Cirsium vulgare, Plantago major, Solidago canadensis, and Taraxacum officinale). The most commonly occurring grasses include Agrostis spp., Elymus glaucus or Elymus trachycaulus, but only Agrostis stolonifera has more than 5% cover. Carex lenticularis has moderate constancy and occasionally more than 10% cover. Equisetum arvense is frequently associated and tends to be the most abundant herbaceous species, up to 30% cover. Artemisia ludoviciana, Epilobium spp., and Symphyotrichum spp. also have moderate constancy but low cover.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Prior to recent review of its taxonomy, Salix melanopsis was considered a subspecies of Salix exigua (Hitchcock and Cronquist 1973, Brunsfeld and Johnson 1985). Likely due to use of this older taxonomy, Salix melanopsis associations had not been formally described. Recent classification work in eastern Washington (Kerr 2000, Kovalchik 2001) and eastern Oregon (Crowe et al. 2004) formally described this Salix (melanopsis, sitchensis) cobble bar association. Within the range of Salix melanopsis, stands of this type had probably been lumped within the broader Salix exigua association (e.g., Crowe and Clausnitzer (1997) in Oregon, Hansen et al. (1995) in Montana, and possibly California) and Salix exigua / Barren association in Idaho, Utah (Padgett et al. 1989), or elsewhere (e.g., Wyoming). In central Idaho, several stands codominated by Salix melanopsis were included within the Agrostis scabra-stream bar association of Tuhy and Jensen (1982). On the west side of the Cascades in southern Washington (e.g., Gifford-Pinchot National Forest) and northwestern Oregon (e.g., Mount Hood National Forest and elsewhere) both Diaz and Mellen (1996) and Murray (2000) describe Salix sitchensis types having sparse herbaceous understories that sometimes occur on frequently flooded alluvial bars. Murray (2000) described two such associations, Salix sitchensis / (Equisetum arvense) and Salix sitchensis - Equisetum telmateia associations in northwestern Oregon. Because of their occurrence west of the Cascades, the lack of Salix melanopsis, and differences in composition compared to analogous stands east of the Cascades, these Salix sitchensis-dominated associations are probably not synonymous with Salix (melanopsis, sitchensis) Cobble Bar Wet Shrubland (CEGL002705).

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 Vancouverian Lowland Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Vancouverian Wet Shrubland
Alliance Pacific Willow - Rose Spirea Wet Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL008699 Salix melanopsis 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 melanopsis (sitchensis) Cobble Bar Shrubland Equivalent Certain IDCDC unpubl. data
Washington Salix (melanopsis, sitchensis) Alluvial Bar Shrubland Equivalent Certain WNHP unpubl. data 2018


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Agrostis scabra-stream bar Community Type
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Tuhy, J. S., and S. Jensen. 1982. Riparian classification for the Upper Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon River drainages, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region by White Horse Associates, Smithfield, UT. 183 pp.
Related Concept Name: Salix exigua
Relationship: I - Intersecting
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.
Related Concept Name: Salix melanopsis Association
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: Salix melanopsis Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kerr, M. J. J. 2000. Classification of active floodplain plant communities on a portion of the Twist River, Okanogan County, Washington. MS thesis, Washington State University, Pullman.
Related Concept Name: Salix sitchensis Plant Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Diaz, N. M., and T. K. Mellen. 1996. Riparian ecological types, Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood national forests, and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Technical Report R6-NR-TP-10-96. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 203 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Salix / Alluvial Bar Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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]

Ecological Systems Placement

NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (30Sep2004)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This early-seral association occurs at low to mid elevations along low- to moderate-gradient mountain rivers and streams. Stands form on frequently flood-scoured alluvial cobble bars. Such sites are widely dispersed and dependent on stream meandering and alluvial bar formation resulting from a natural hydrologic regime. Although this cobble bar association has been documented at only 32 stands in mountainous areas of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and central Idaho, Salix melanopsis has a much broader distribution (into California, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming). This association is likely to occur in suitable habitat in these areas. The actual number of occurrences is probably higher than currently known. This is because stands of this association had likely been included within very similar Salix exigua associations by older classifications. The main reason for this is that older floras consider Salix melanopsis a subspecies of Salix exigua. There is much suitable habitat for this association within the range of Salix melanopsis. Salix melanopsis stands along rivers and larger streams within wilderness areas of central Idaho have not been adequately inventoried for this association.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ID, MTpotentially occurs, OR, WA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is known from the east slope of the Cascades in north-central Washington (Kerr 2000) and northeastern Washington (Kovalchik 2001). It also occurs in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, in Lake County of south-central Oregon, and possibly on the east slope of the Cascades (Crowe et al. 2004). In Idaho, it is known along the larger headwater tributaries to the Middle Fork Salmon River in central Idaho (Tuhy and Jensen 1982), as well as on the forks of the Boise and Payette river systems. The association has been observed elsewhere in Idaho, such as on the Little Wood River (Rust et al. 2003). It is suspected to occur in suitable habitat throughout the range of Salix melanopsis, including California, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
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: Predicted or probable
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: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bitterroot Valley Section
Section Code: M332B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Beaverhead Mountains Section
Section Code: M332E Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Challis Volcanics Section
Section Code: M332F Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
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 association is typically dominated by Salix melanopsis, varying in size and cover (e.g., ranging from about 10 to 90% cover) depending on the amount of flood scouring and time since establishment. In some areas, such as north-central and northeastern Washington, Salix sitchensis has high constancy and can be dominant, codominant, or subdominant in this association. Other Salix spp., especially Salix exigua (and possible Salix exigua x Salix melanopsis hybrids), Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra (= Salix lasiandra), and Salix lutea are sometimes present but never dominant. Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa seedlings and saplings are sometimes also present, and occasionally there are young Picea engelmannii or other conifers sprouting on the well-drained sand and gravel. The herbaceous layer is generally sparse and low in diversity but highly variable across stands. The most common species are tolerant of flood scouring and seasonal desiccation and include "weedy" species adapted to disturbed and open sites (e.g., Achillea millefolium, Anaphalis margaritacea, Cirsium vulgare, Plantago major, Solidago canadensis, and Taraxacum officinale). Agrostis spp. (e.g., Agrostis exarata, Agrostis scabra, Agrostis stolonifera) are the most commonly occurring grasses, but only Agrostis stolonifera has more than 5% cover. Elymus spp. (e.g., Elymus glaucus and Elymus trachycaulus) also commonly occur but with low cover. Carex lenticularis has moderate constancy and occasionally more than 10% cover. Equisetum arvense is frequently associated and is also the most abundant herbaceous species (occasionally with up to 30% cover). Artemisia ludoviciana, Epilobium spp. (e.g., Epilobium ciliatum, Epilobium suffruticosum), and Symphyotrichum spp. (e.g., Symphyotrichum eatonii, Symphyotrichum foliaceum) also have moderate constancy but low cover.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Salix melanopsis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Salix sitchensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Cirsium vulgare G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Taraxacum officinale G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This early-seral association occurs along low- to moderate-gradient mountain rivers and streams in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and central Idaho. Rivers and streams vary in size, but most are higher order streams flowing through wide canyons and trough or U-shaped valleys. Typically found between 915 and 1524 m (3000-5000 feet) elevation, stands are known from as low as 560 m (1840 feet) in eastern Washington and up to 2134 m (7000 feet) elevation in eastern Oregon and central Idaho. Stands usually form on cobble-rich alluvial bars, with varying amounts of gravel and boulders intermixed, overlain by thin sandy deposits. Sites are point bars, sidebars, and mid-channel bars that are flood-scoured nearly every year, with minimal deposition of sand occurring in microsites with low fluvial energy.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Murphy
Element Description Edition Date: 30Sep2004
Element Description Author(s): C. Murphy and M.S. Reid
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 30Sep2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Murphy, mod. M.S. Reid

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


References
  • Brunsfeld, S. J., and F. D. Johnson. 1985. Field guide to the willows of east-central Idaho. Bulletin No. 39. Forest, Wildlife & Range Experimental Station, University of Idaho, Moscow. 95 pp.

  • 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.

  • Diaz, N. M., and T. K. Mellen. 1996. Riparian ecological types, Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood national forests, and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Technical Report R6-NR-TP-10-96. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 203 pp. plus appendices.

  • Hitchcock, L. C. and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle. 730 pp.

  • Kerr, M. J. J. 2000. Classification of active floodplain plant communities on a portion of the Twist River, Okanogan County, Washington. MS thesis, Washington State University, Pullman.

  • 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]

  • 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]

  • Rust, S., C. Murphy, J. Miller, and C. Coulter. 2003. Inventory and assessment of vegetation of the Pioneer Mountain Foothills: Fish Creek, West Fork Fish Creek, Friedman Creek, and Little Wood River. Unpublished draft report prepared for Bureau of Land Management, Shoshone Field Office; The Nature Conservancy; and Lava Lake Land and Livestock LLC by Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. 173 pp.

  • Tuhy, J. S., and S. Jensen. 1982. Riparian classification for the Upper Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon River drainages, Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region by White Horse Associates, Smithfield, UT. 183 pp.

  • 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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