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Classification
Scientific Name: Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CES306.832
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This system is found throughout the Rocky Mountain cordillera from New Mexico north into Montana and northwestern Alberta, and also occurs in mountainous areas of the Intermountain West region and Colorado Plateau. These are montane to subalpine riparian shrublands occurring as narrow bands of shrubs lining streambanks and alluvial terraces in narrow to wide, low-gradient valley bottoms and floodplains with sinuous stream channels. Generally, the system is found at higher elevations, but can be found anywhere from 1500-3475 m, and may occur at even lower elevations in the Canadian Rockies. Occurrences can also be found around seeps, fens, and isolated springs on hillslopes away from valley bottoms. Many of the plant associations found within this system are associated with beaver activity. This system often occurs as a mosaic of multiple communities that are shrub- and herb-dominated and includes above-treeline, willow-dominated, snowmelt-fed basins that feed into streams. The dominant shrubs reflect the large elevational gradient and include Alnus incana, Betula glandulosa, Betula occidentalis, Cornus sericea, Salix bebbiana, Salix boothii, Salix brachycarpa, Salix drummondiana, Salix eriocephala, Salix geyeriana, Salix monticola, Salix planifolia, and Salix wolfii. Generally the upland vegetation surrounding these riparian systems are of either conifer or aspen forests.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000122 Alnus incana / Carex scopulorum var. prionophylla Wet Shrubland
CEGL000228 Alnus incana / Glyceria striata Wet Shrubland
CEGL000481 Alnus incana / Scirpus microcarpus Wet Shrubland
CEGL000484 Vaccinium caespitosum - (Salix farriae) / Danthonia intermedia Wet Shrubland
CEGL001062 Acer glabrum Drainage Bottom Wet Shrubland
CEGL001063 Alnus oblongifolia / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Flooded Forest
CEGL001080 Betula occidentalis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001083 Betula occidentalis - Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda Wet Shrubland
CEGL001107 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001135 Salix brachycarpa / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001137 Salix glauca / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001139 Salix monticola Thicket Wet Shrubland
CEGL001141 Alnus incana Wet Shrubland
CEGL001142 Alnus incana - Betula occidentalis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001143 Alnus incana / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001144 Alnus incana / Carex (aquatilis, lenticularis, luzulina, pellita) Wet Shrubland
CEGL001145 Alnus incana / Cornus sericea Wet Shrubland
CEGL001146 Alnus incana / Equisetum arvense Wet Shrubland
CEGL001147 Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001148 Alnus incana / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL001151 Alnus incana / Ribes (inerme, hudsonianum, lacustre) Wet Shrubland
CEGL001152 Alnus incana / Spiraea douglasii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001153 Alnus incana / Symphoricarpos albus Wet Shrubland
CEGL001154 Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata Shrub Swamp
CEGL001156 Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata / Athyrium filix-femina - Cinna latifolia Wet Shrubland
CEGL001161 Betula occidentalis / Cornus sericea Wet Shrubland
CEGL001162 Betula occidentalis / Maianthemum stellatum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001165 Cornus sericea Rocky Mountain Wet Shrubland
CEGL001166 Cornus sericea / Galium triflorum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001167 Cornus sericea / Heracleum maximum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001172 Ribes lacustre / Mertensia ciliata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001173 Salix bebbiana Wet Shrubland
CEGL001174 Salix bebbiana / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL001175 Salix boothii / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001176 Salix (boothii, geyeriana) / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001177 Salix boothii / Carex nebrascensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001178 Salix boothii / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001180 Salix boothii / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001181 Salix boothii / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL001183 Salix boothii / Poa palustris Wet Shrubland
CEGL001184 Salix boothii - Salix geyeriana Wet Shrubland
CEGL001185 Salix boothii - Salix geyeriana / Carex angustata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001186 Salix boothii - Salix lemmonii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001187 Salix boothii / Maianthemum stellatum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001188 Salix candida / Carex utriculata Shrub Fen
CEGL001189 Salix commutata / Carex scopulorum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001192 Salix drummondiana / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001205 Salix geyeriana / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001206 Salix geyeriana / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001207 Salix geyeriana / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001208 Salix geyeriana / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001210 Salix geyeriana / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL001211 Salix geyeriana / Poa palustris Wet Shrubland
CEGL001212 Salix geyeriana - Salix lemmonii / Carex aquatilis var. dives Wet Shrubland
CEGL001213 Salix geyeriana - Salix eriocephala Wet Shrubland
CEGL001215 Salix lucida ssp. caudata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001218 Salix ligulifolia Wet Shrubland
CEGL001219 Salix lutea / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001220 Salix lutea / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001221 Salix monticola / Angelica ampla Wet Shrubland
CEGL001222 Salix monticola / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001223 Salix geyeriana - Salix monticola / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001224 Salix planifolia Wet Shrubland
CEGL001225 Salix planifolia / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001227 Salix planifolia / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001229 Salix planifolia / Carex scopulorum Wet Shrubland
CEGL001230 Salix planifolia / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001233 Salix eriocephala / Ribes aureum - Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001234 Salix wolfii / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001235 Salix wolfii / Carex microptera Wet Shrubland
CEGL001236 Salix wolfii / Carex nebrascensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001237 Salix wolfii / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001238 Salix wolfii / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001239 Salix wolfii / Fragaria virginiana Wet Shrubland
CEGL001240 Salix wolfii / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL001241 Salix wolfii / Poa palustris Wet Shrubland
CEGL001242 Salix wolfii / Swertia perennis - Pedicularis groenlandica Wet Shrubland
CEGL001244 Salix brachycarpa / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001247 Salix geyeriana - Salix monticola / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL001584 Salix drummondiana / Carex scopulorum var. prionophylla Wet Shrubland
CEGL002607 Salix boothii - Salix eastwoodiae / Carex nigricans Wet Shrubland
CEGL002621 Salix lucida ssp. caudata / Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL002624 Salix lutea / Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL002628 Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina Wet Shrubland
CEGL002629 Alnus incana / Lysichiton americanus Wet Shrubland
CEGL002631 Salix drummondiana / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL002651 Alnus incana - Salix (monticola, lucida, ligulifolia) Wet Shrubland
CEGL002652 Alnus incana - Salix drummondiana Wet Shrubland
CEGL002653 Betula glandulosa / Mesic Forbs - Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL002654 Betula occidentalis / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL002656 Salix monticola / Carex aquatilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL002657 Salix monticola / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL002658 Salix monticola / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL002659 Salix monticola / Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL002665 Salix planifolia / Caltha leptosepala Wet Shrubland
CEGL002666 Salix geyeriana / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL002667 Salix drummondiana / Calamagrostis canadensis Wet Shrubland
CEGL002671 Salix boothii / Equisetum arvense Wet Shrubland
CEGL002687 Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia - Salix irrorata Wet Shrubland
CEGL002752 Fraxinus anomala Riparian Woodland
CEGL002771 Salix lemmonii / Mesic-Tall Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL002772 Salix lemmonii / Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL002774 Salix lutea / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL002893 Salix planifolia / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
CEGL002903 Corylus cornuta Wet Shrubland
CEGL002904 Salix boothii / Deschampsia caespitosa - Geum rossii Wet Shrubland
CEGL003445 Ribes lacustre - Ribes hudsonianum / Cinna latifolia Wet Shrubland
CEGL003446 Ribes lacustre - Ribes hudsonianum / Glyceria striata Wet Shrubland
CEGL003497 Salix commutata / Mesic Graminoid Wet Shrubland
CEGL005868 Elymus repens Ruderal Grassland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Woody Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Linear
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Upper Montane
Montane Montane
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Riverine / Alluvial  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Shrub  
Short (<5 yrs) Flooding Interval  
RM Subalpine/Montane Riparian Woodland  
Short (50-100 yrs) Persistence  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Alluvial terrace  
Drainage bottom (undifferentiated)  
Erosional stream terrace  
Floodplain  
Stream terrace (undifferentiated)  
Valley bottom  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Circumneutral Water  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Botrychium paradoxum
  (Peculiar Moonwort)
G3G4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Alnus incana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Betula glandulosa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Betula occidentalis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cornus sericea G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix bebbiana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salix boothii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix brachycarpa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salix drummondiana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix eriocephala G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix geyeriana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix monticola G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix planifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salix wolfii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Botrychium paradoxum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Castor canadensis
  (American Beaver)
G5      
Sorex monticolus
  (Dusky Shrew)
G5      
Zapus princeps
  (Western Jumping Mouse)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: AB, BC
Global Range: This system is found throughout the Rocky Mountain cordillera from New Mexico north into Montana and the Canadian Rockies of Alberta and British Columbia (including the isolated "island" mountain ranges of central and eastern Montana), and also occurs in mountainous areas of the Intermountain West and Colorado Plateau.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
304-Inter-Mountain Basins C: Confident or certain
306-Rocky Mountain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
19 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
20 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
21 Arizona-New Mexico Mountains Confident or certain
25 Black Hills Confident or certain
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Predicted or probable
68 Okanagan Confident or certain
7 Canadian Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
8 Middle Rockies - Blue Mountains Confident or certain
9 Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Possible
7 Cascade Mountain Range Possible
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Possible
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Confident or certain
15 Mogollon Rim Possible
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
17 Eastern Great Basin Predicted or probable
18 Snake River Plain Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Confident or certain
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Confident or certain
23 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
24 Navajo Plateau Confident or certain
25 Rio Grande Basin Confident or certain
26 Chihuahuan Desert Predicted or probable
27 Great Plains Tablelands Confident or certain
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9187

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 31Mar2010
Element Description Author(s): NatureServe Western Ecology Team

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


References
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  • Baker, W. L. 1989a. Macro- and micro-scale influences on riparian vegetation in western Colorado. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 79(1):65-78.

  • Baker, W. L. 1989b. Classification of the riparian vegetation of the montane and subalpine zones in western Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist 49(2):214-228.

  • Baker, W. L. 1990. Climatic and hydrologic effects on the regeneration of Populus angustifolia James along the Animas River, Colorado. Journal of Biogeography 17:59-73.

  • Comer, P. J., M. S. Reid, R. J. Rondeau, A. Black, J. Stevens, J. Bell, M. Menefee, and D. Cogan. 2002. A working classification of terrestrial ecological systems in the Northern Colorado Plateau: Analysis of their relation to the National Vegetation Classification System and application to mapping. NatureServe. Report to the National Park Service. 23 pp. plus appendices.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • 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.

  • Kittel, G. 1993. A preliminary classification of the riparian vegetation of the White River Basin. Unpublished report prepared for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 106 pp.

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  • Kittel, G., R. Rondeau, and A. McMullen. 1996. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the Lower South Platte and parts of the Upper Arkansas River basins, Colorado. Submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII. Prepared by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins. 243 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. 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]

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  • 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.

  • Rondeau, R. 2001. Ecological system viability specifications for Southern Rocky Mountain ecoregion. First edition. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 181 pp.

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  • Walford, G. M. 1996. Statewide classification of riparian and wetland dominance types and plant communities - Bighorn Basin segment. Report submitted to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Quality Division by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. 185 pp.

  • Willoughby, M. G. 2007. Range plant communities and carrying capacity for the Upper Foothills subregion: Sixth Approximation (a revision of the fourth and fifth approximations: Publication Nos. T/003 and T/068). Publication No. T/138. Sustainable Resource Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Edmonton. 182 pp. ISBN:978-0-7785-6484 [online edition].


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