NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
 
Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Classification
Scientific Name: Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CES306.812
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate
Image 22111
© Denise Culver
Summary: These are high-elevation communities found throughout the Rocky Mountains and Intermountain regions, dominated by herbaceous species found on wetter sites with very low-velocity surface and subsurface flows. They range in elevation from montane to alpine (1000-3600 m). These types occur as large meadows in montane or subalpine valleys, as narrow strips bordering ponds, lakes, and streams, and along toeslope seeps. They are typically found on flat areas or gentle slopes, but may also occur on sub-irrigated sites with slopes up to 10%. In alpine regions, sites typically are small depressions located below late-melting snow patches or on snowbeds. Soils of this system may be mineral or organic. In either case, soils show typical hydric soil characteristics, including high organic content and/or low chroma and redoximorphic features. This system often occurs as a mosaic of several plant associations, often dominated by graminoids, including Calamagrostis stricta, Caltha leptosepala, Cardamine cordifolia, Carex illota, Carex microptera, Carex nigricans, Carex scopulorum, Carex utriculata, Carex vernacula, Deschampsia caespitosa, Eleocharis quinqueflora, Juncus drummondii, Phippsia algida, Rorippa alpina, Senecio triangularis, Trifolium parryi, and Trollius laxus. Often alpine dwarf-shrublands, especially those dominated by Salix, are immediately adjacent to the wet meadows. Wet meadows are tightly associated with snowmelt and typically not subjected to high disturbance events such as flooding.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Similar systems to this one include Temperate Pacific Subalpine-Montane Wet Meadow (CES200.998) and Western North American Boreal Wet Meadow (CES105.124). Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow (CES306.812) occurs to the east of the coastal and Sierran mountains, in the semi-arid interior regions of western North America. Boreal wet meadow systems occur farther north and east in boreal regions where the climatic regime is generally colder than that of the Rockies or Pacific Northwest regions. Floristics of these three systems are somewhat similar, but there are differences related to biogeographic affinities of the species composing the vegetation.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES105.124 Western North American Boreal Wet Meadow
CES306.829 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Mesic Meadow


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000219 Glyceria striata Wet Meadow
CEGL001079 Betula glandulosa / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001105 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda Wet Shrubland
CEGL001106 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Carex spp. Wet Shrubland
CEGL001107 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Shrubland
CEGL001559 Calamagrostis canadensis Western Wet Meadow
CEGL001560 Calamagrostis canadensis - Carex scopulorum - Mertensia ciliata Wet Meadow
CEGL001562 Carex utriculata Wet Meadow
CEGL001569 Glyceria borealis Wet Meadow
CEGL001599 Deschampsia caespitosa Wet Meadow
CEGL001769 Carex saxatilis Fen
CEGL001792 Carex microptera Wet Meadow
CEGL001793 Carex straminiformis Grassland
CEGL001801 Carex aperta Lowland Wet Meadow
CEGL001802 Carex aquatilis Wet Meadow
CEGL001803 Carex aquatilis - Carex utriculata Wet Meadow
CEGL001809 Carex pellita Wet Meadow
CEGL001813 Carex nebrascensis Wet Meadow
CEGL001816 Carex nigricans Wet Meadow
CEGL001818 Carex nigricans - Juncus drummondii Wet Meadow
CEGL001822 Carex scopulorum Wet Meadow
CEGL001823 Carex scopulorum - Caltha leptosepala Wet Meadow
CEGL001825 Carex simulata Fen
CEGL001826 Carex aquatilis var. dives Fen
CEGL001832 Eleocharis acicularis Marsh
CEGL001833 Eleocharis palustris Marsh
CEGL001834 Eleocharis palustris - Distichlis spicata Marsh
CEGL001835 Eleocharis palustris - Juncus balticus Marsh
CEGL001836 Eleocharis quinqueflora Fen
CEGL001837 Eleocharis quinqueflora - Carex scopulorum Wet Meadow
CEGL001838 Juncus balticus Wet Meadow
CEGL001842 Trichophorum caespitosum - Carex livida Fen
CEGL001860 Carex pyrenaica Alpine Snowbed
CEGL001865 Carex scirpoidea ssp. pseudoscirpoidea Alpine Meadow
CEGL001869 Carex vernacula - Poa fendleriana Wet Meadow
CEGL001871 Carex lachenalii Wet Meadow
CEGL001872 Carex capillaris - Polygonum viviparum Wet Meadow
CEGL001874 Carex duriuscula Grassland
CEGL001876 Carex illota Wet Meadow
CEGL001877 Carex microglochin Fen
CEGL001884 Deschampsia caespitosa - Geum rossii Wet Meadow
CEGL001887 Deschampsia caespitosa - Mertensia ciliata Wet Meadow
CEGL001904 Juncus drummondii - Antennaria lanata Alpine Snowbed
CEGL001905 Juncus drummondii - Carex spp. Alpine Snowbed
CEGL001906 Juncus parryi - Erigeron ursinus Alpine Snowbed
CEGL001921 Phleum alpinum - Carex aquatilis Wet Meadow
CEGL001922 Phleum alpinum - Carex microptera Wet Meadow
CEGL001926 Poa glauca Wet Meadow
CEGL001931 Rhodiola rhodantha Wet Meadow
CEGL001940 Heracleum maximum - Rudbeckia occidentalis Wet Meadow
CEGL001954 Caltha leptosepala Wet Meadow
CEGL001956 Caltha leptosepala - Polygonum bistortoides Wet Meadow
CEGL001957 Caltha leptosepala - Rhodiola rhodantha Wet Meadow
CEGL001958 Cardamine cordifolia - Caltha leptosepala Wet Meadow
CEGL001967 Geum rossii - Polygonum bistortoides Alpine Turf
CEGL001969 Geum rossii - Sibbaldia procumbens Alpine Snowbed
CEGL001983 Primula parryi Wet Meadow
CEGL001985 Saxifraga odontoloma Wet Meadow
CEGL001987 Senecio triangularis Wet Meadow
CEGL001988 Senecio triangularis - Mimulus guttatus Wet Meadow
CEGL001989 Senecio triangularis - Veratrum californicum Wet Meadow
CEGL001998 Valeriana sitchensis - Veratrum viride Meadow
CEGL002009 Rorippa alpina Wet Meadow
CEGL002241 Equisetum laevigatum Wet Meadow
CEGL002653 Betula glandulosa / Mesic Forbs - Mesic Graminoids Wet Shrubland
CEGL002660 Carex praegracilis Wet Meadow
CEGL002661 Carex vesicaria Wet Meadow
CEGL002662 Cardamine cordifolia - Mertensia ciliata - Senecio triangularis Wet Meadow
CEGL002746 Equisetum fluviatile Marsh
CEGL002890 Carex nebrascensis Slope Wet Meadow
CEGL002892 Phippsia algida Wet Meadow
CEGL003314 Equisetum arvense Wet Meadow
CEGL003427 Carex amplifolia Wet Meadow
CEGL003428 Eleocharis rostellata Marsh
CEGL003429 Glyceria grandis Wet Meadow
CEGL003440 Camassia cusickii Wet Meadow
CEGL005824 Carex nigricans - Sibbaldia procumbens Wet Meadow
CEGL005857 Heracleum maximum Wet Meadow
CEGL005858 Trollius laxus - Parnassia fimbriata Wet Meadow
CEGL005867 Carex spectabilis - Arnica x diversifolia Alpine Meadow
CEGL005871 Juncus parryi / Sibbaldia procumbens Alpine Snowbed
CEGL005887 Betula glandulosa / Carex spp. Wet Shrubland



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Alpine/AltiAndino Alpine/AltiAndino
Montane Upper Montane
Herbaceous  
Seepage-Fed Sloping Mineral
Depressional Lakeshore
Depressional Pond
Graminoid  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Montane
Temperate Temperate Continental
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon >10 cm  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Forb  
Mesotrophic Water  
Saturated Soil  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Delphinium viridescens
  (Wenatchee Larkspur)
G2  
Ptilagrostis kingii
  (King's Mountain-ricegrass)
G3?  
Rana pretiosa
  (Oregon Spotted Frog)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Sidalcea oregana var. calva
  (Oregon Checker-mallow)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered
Speyeria nokomis
  (Nokomis Fritillary)
G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Caltha leptosepala G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Cardamine cordifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Delphinium viridescens G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Rorippa alpina G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Senecio triangularis G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Trifolium parryi G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Trollius laxus G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Calamagrostis stricta G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex illota G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex microptera G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex nigricans G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex scopulorum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex utriculata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex vernacula G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Deschampsia caespitosa G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Eleocharis quinqueflora G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus drummondii G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Phippsia algida G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Lithobates sylvaticus
  (Wood Frog)
G5      
Pseudacris maculata
  (Boreal Chorus Frog)
G5      
Rana pretiosa
  (Oregon Spotted Frog)
G2 LT: Listed threatened    
Speyeria nokomis
  (Nokomis Fritillary)
G3      


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 Mountains and Intermountain West regions, ranging in elevation from montane to alpine (1000-3600 m).

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
22 Apache Highlands Predicted or probable
25 Black Hills Confident or certain
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
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Predicted or probable
13 Death Valley 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 Predicted or probable
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Predicted or probable
23 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
24 Navajo Plateau Predicted or probable
25 Rio Grande Basin Confident or certain
26 Chihuahuan Desert Never was there
27 Great Plains Tablelands Confident or certain
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9217

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Dec2004
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
  • 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.

  • Cooper, D. J. 1986b. Community structure and classification of Rocky Mountain wetland ecosystems. Pages 66-147 in: J. T. Windell, et al. An ecological characterization of Rocky Mountain montane and subalpine wetlands. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Report 86(11). 298 pp.

  • 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., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.

  • Komarkova, V. 1976. Alpine vegetation of the Indian Peaks Area, Front Range, Colorado Rocky Mountains. Unpublished dissertation, University of Colorado, Boulder. 655 pp.

  • Komarkova, V. 1986. Habitat types on selected parts of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre national forests. Unpublished final report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Fort Collins, CO. 270 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.

  • Meidinger, D., and J. Pojar, editors. 1991. Ecosystems of British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Forests Special Report Series No. 6. Victoria, BC. 330 pp.

  • NCC [The Nature Conservancy of Canada]. 2002. Canadian Rockies ecoregional plan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Victoria, BC.

  • Nachlinger, J. L. 1985. The ecology of subalpine meadows in the Lake Tahoe region, California and Nevada. Unpublished thesis, University of Nevada, Reno. 151 pp.

  • Nachlinger, J., K. Sochi, P. Comer, G. Kittel, and D. Dorfman. 2001. Great Basin: An ecoregion-based conservation blueprint. The Nature Conservancy, Reno, NV. 160 pp. plus appendices.

  • Neely, B., P. Comer, C. Moritz, M. Lammerts, R. Rondeau, C. Prague, G. Bell, H. Copeland, J. Humke, S. Spakeman, T. Schulz, D. Theobald, and L. Valutis. 2001. Southern Rocky Mountains: An ecoregional assessment and conservation blueprint. Prepared by The Nature Conservancy with support from the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Colorado Division of Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management.

  • 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.

  • Reed, P. B., Jr. 1988. National list of plant species that occur in wetlands: 1988 national summary. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service. Biological Report 88(24).

  • Sanderson, J., and S. Kettler. 1996. A preliminary wetland vegetation classification for a portion of Colorado's west slope. Report prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, CO, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII, Denver, CO. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO. 243 pp.

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Tuhy, J., P. Comer, D. Dorfman, M. Lammert, B. Neely, L. Whitham, S. Silbert, G. Bell, J. Humke, B. Baker, and B. Cholvin. 2002. An ecoregional assessment of the Colorado Plateau. The Nature Conservancy, Moab Project Office. 112 pp. plus maps and appendices.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2017
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: November 2016