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Classification
Scientific Name: Inter-Mountain Basins Shale Badland
Unique Identifier: CES304.789
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This widespread ecological system of the Intermountain western U.S. is composed of barren and sparsely vegetated substrates (<10% plant cover) typically derived from marine shales but also includes substrates derived from siltstones and mudstones (clay). In southern Wyoming , the shales are not marine in origin, but often have bentonite, derived from volcanic ash deposition that occurred during several eruptions of the Yellowstone volcanic fields. Landforms are typically rounded hills and plains that form a rolling topography. The harsh soil properties and high rate of erosion and deposition are driving environmental variables supporting sparse dwarf-shrubs, e.g., Atriplex corrugata, Atriplex gardneri, Artemisia pedatifida, and herbaceous vegetation.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Exactly where this transitions to Western Great Plains Badlands (CES303.663) in central Wyoming needs to be clarified.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES304.081 Columbia Plateau Ash and Tuff Badland
CES304.783 Inter-Mountain Basins Mat Saltbush Shrubland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000990 Artemisia bigelovii / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001316 Atriplex cuneata - Frankenia jamesii / Sporobolus airoides Shrubland
CEGL001343 Eriogonum corymbosum / Leymus salinus Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001436 Artemisia pygmaea / Elymus elymoides - Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001437 Atriplex corrugata Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001438 Atriplex gardneri Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001441 Atriplex gardneri / Pleuraphis jamesii Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001442 Atriplex gardneri / Leymus salinus Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001444 Atriplex gardneri / Achnatherum hymenoides Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001446 Atriplex gardneri / Xylorhiza venusta Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001651 Achnatherum hymenoides Shale Barren Grassland
CEGL001667 Pseudoroegneria spicata - Eriogonum brevicaule Sparse Vegetation
CEGL001789 Atriplex obovata Talus Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL002349 Ephedra torreyana - (Atriplex spp.) / Nonvascular Gypsum Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002353 Ephedra torreyana Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002493 Zuckia brandegeei Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002585 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Elymus lanceolatus Shrubland
CEGL002745 Leymus salinus Shale Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002928 Atriplex obovata Badland Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002979 Eriogonum corymbosum Badlands Sparse Vegetation
CEGL003767 Atriplex spp. Desert Pavement Sparse Vegetation
CEGL003830 Atriplex confertifolia Sparse Shrubland
CEGL003961 Ericameria nauseosa - (Xylorhiza tortifolia) Talus Sparse Shrubland
CEGL004013 Eriogonum leptophyllum Sparse Vegetation
CEGL005319 Eriogonum brevicaule - Cushion Plants Sparse Vegetation
CEGL005996 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Cushion Plants Shrubland
CEGL005997 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Poa fendleriana Shrubland



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Lowland
Badlands  
Badland  
Alkaline Soil  
Shale and Mudstone  
Silt Soil Texture  
Clay Soil Texture  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Moss/Lichen (Nonvascular)  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Aridic  
Very Short Disturbance Interval  
Broad-Leaved Shrub  
Dwarf-Shrub  
Semi-Shrub  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Atriplex cuneata
  (Valley Saltbush)
G3G4  
Eriogonum leptophyllum
  (Slenderleaf Buckwheat)
G3G4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Artemisia pedatifida G4 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Eriogonum corymbosum G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Eriogonum leptophyllum G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Atriplex corrugata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Atriplex cuneata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Atriplex gardneri G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Atriplex obovata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Frankenia jamesii G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Zuckia brandegeei G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Artemisia pygmaea G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ephedra torreyana G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Eriogonum brevicaule G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Leymus salinus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pseudoroegneria spicata 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
Aspidoscelis velox
  (Plateau Striped Whiptail)
G5      
Crotalus oreganus
  (Western Rattlesnake)
G5      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY
Global Range: This system is found in the intermountain western U.S., from Arizona and New Mexico north to Idaho and Montana. It is confirmed by Oregon and Washington reviewers to not occur in either of those states.

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
10 Wyoming Basins Confident or certain
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
12 Sierra Nevada Possible
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
6 Columbia Plateau Predicted or probable
9 Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
7 Cascade Mountain Range Never was there
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Possible
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Possible
13 Death Valley Basin Predicted or probable
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
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Possible
22 Wyoming Basin Confident or certain
23 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
24 Navajo Plateau Confident or certain
25 Rio Grande Basin Predicted or probable
27 Great Plains Tablelands Possible
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Never was there
30 Northwestern Great Plains Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 3139

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 29Jan2007
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., 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.

  • DeVelice, R. L., and P. Lesica. 1993. Plant community classification for vegetation on BLM lands, Pryor Mountains, Carbon County, Montana. Unpublished report by Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 78 pp.

  • Knight, D. H. 1994. Mountains and plains: Ecology of Wyoming landscapes. Yale University Press, New Haven, MA. 338 pp.

  • Knight, D. H., G. P. Jones, Y. Akashi, and R. W. Myers. 1987. Vegetation ecology in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Unpublished report prepared for the USDI National Park Service and University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research.


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Data last updated: November 2016