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Classification
Scientific Name: Inter-Mountain Basins Mixed Salt Desert Scrub
Unique Identifier: CES304.784
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This extensive ecological system includes open-canopied shrublands of typically saline basins, alluvial slopes and plains across the Intermountain western U.S. This type also extends in limited distribution into the southern Great Plains. Substrates are often saline and calcareous, medium- to fine-textured, alkaline soils, but include some coarser-textured soils. The vegetation is characterized by a typically open to moderately dense shrubland composed of one or more Atriplex species, such as Atriplex confertifolia, Atriplex canescens, Atriplex obovata, Atriplex polycarpa, or Atriplex spinifera. Other shrubs present to codominant may include Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Ericameria nauseosa, Ephedra nevadensis, Grayia spinosa, Krascheninnikovia lanata, Lycium spp., Picrothamnus desertorum, or Tetradymia spp. Northern occurrences may lack Atriplex species and are typically dominated by Grayia spinosa, Krascheninnikovia lanata, and/or Picrothamnus desertorum. In Wyoming, occurrences are typically a mix of Atriplex confertifolia, Grayia spinosa, Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, Sarcobatus vermiculatus, Krascheninnikovia lanata, and various Ericameria or Chrysothamnus species. Some places are a mix of Atriplex confertifolia and Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis. In the Great Basin, Sarcobatus vermiculatus is generally absent but, if present, does not codominate. The herbaceous layer varies from sparse to moderately dense and is dominated by perennial graminoids such as Achnatherum hymenoides, Bouteloua gracilis, Elymus lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus, Pascopyrum smithii, Pleuraphis jamesii, Pleuraphis rigida, Poa secunda, or Sporobolus airoides. Various forbs are also present.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system extends south into the southern Colorado Plateau and east into the western Great Plains where the shrub layer often has a herbaceous layer dominated by warm-season graminoids such as Bouteloua gracilis, Pleuraphis jamesii, Distichlis spicata, Muhlenbergia asperifolia, or Sporobolus airoides.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES304.775 Inter-Mountain Basins Active and Stabilized Dune


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL001040 Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis - Atriplex confertifolia Shrubland
CEGL001281 Atriplex canescens Shrubland
CEGL001282 Atriplex canescens - Artemisia tridentata Shrubland
CEGL001283 Atriplex canescens / Bouteloua gracilis Shrubland
CEGL001284 Atriplex canescens / Calycoseris parryi Shrubland
CEGL001285 Atriplex canescens - Krascheninnikovia lanata Shrubland
CEGL001286 Atriplex canescens / Purshia stansburiana Shrubland
CEGL001287 Atriplex canescens - Ephedra viridis Talus Shrubland
CEGL001288 Atriplex canescens / Pleuraphis jamesii Shrubland
CEGL001289 Atriplex canescens / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001290 Atriplex canescens / Parthenium confertum Shrubland
CEGL001291 Atriplex canescens / Sporobolus airoides Shrubland
CEGL001292 Atriplex canescens / Sporobolus wrightii Shrubland
CEGL001293 Atriplex confertifolia Wyoming Basins Shrubland
CEGL001294 Atriplex confertifolia Great Basin Shrubland
CEGL001295 Atriplex confertifolia - Picrothamnus desertorum Shrubland
CEGL001296 Atriplex confertifolia - Picrothamnus desertorum / Krascheninnikovia lanata Shrubland
CEGL001297 Atriplex confertifolia - Picrothamnus desertorum / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001298 Atriplex confertifolia - Picrothamnus desertorum / Sarcobatus vermiculatus Shrubland
CEGL001300 Atriplex confertifolia / Ericameria nauseosa Shrubland
CEGL001301 Atriplex confertifolia - Krascheninnikovia lanata Shrubland
CEGL001302 Atriplex confertifolia / Elymus elymoides Shrubland
CEGL001303 Atriplex confertifolia - Ephedra nevadensis Shrubland
CEGL001304 Atriplex confertifolia / Pleuraphis jamesii Shrubland
CEGL001305 Atriplex confertifolia / Kochia americana Shrubland
CEGL001306 Atriplex confertifolia / Leymus salinus ssp. salmonis Shrubland
CEGL001307 Atriplex confertifolia / Leymus salinus Shrubland
CEGL001308 Atriplex confertifolia - Lycium andersonii Shrubland
CEGL001309 Atriplex confertifolia - Lycium pallidum / Mirabilis pudica Shrubland
CEGL001310 Atriplex confertifolia - Lycium shockleyi Shrubland
CEGL001311 Atriplex confertifolia / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001312 Atriplex confertifolia / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrubland
CEGL001313 Atriplex confertifolia - Sarcobatus vermiculatus Shrubland
CEGL001314 Atriplex confertifolia / Hesperostipa comata Shrubland
CEGL001315 Atriplex confertifolia / Tetradymia glabrata Shrubland
CEGL001318 Atriplex polycarpa Shrubland
CEGL001319 Atriplex polycarpa / Pleuraphis mutica Shrubland
CEGL001320 Krascheninnikovia lanata Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001323 Krascheninnikovia lanata / Achnatherum hymenoides Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001327 Krascheninnikovia lanata / Hesperostipa comata Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001355 Artemisia tridentata - Atriplex canescens - Sarcobatus vermiculatus / (Achnatherum hymenoides) Shrubland
CEGL001447 Atriplex obovata / Sporobolus airoides - Sporobolus cryptandrus Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001452 Picrothamnus desertorum Shrubland
CEGL001775 Atriplex obovata / Sporobolus airoides - Pleuraphis jamesii Shrub Grassland
CEGL001789 Atriplex obovata Talus Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL004575 Atriplex obovata / Tidestromia carnosa Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL005385 Atriplex canescens / Muhlenbergia porteri Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Shrubland
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
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Alluvial flat  
Alluvial plain  
Plain  
Alkaline Soil  
Saline Substrate Chemistry  
Calcareous  
Silt Soil Texture  
Clay Soil Texture  
Xeromorphic Shrub  
Dwarf-Shrub  
Atriplex spp.  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Basin floor  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Oligotrophic Soil  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Astragalus cronquistii
  (Cronquist's Milkvetch)
G2  
Astragalus debequaeus
  (DeBeque Milkvetch)
G2  
Astragalus eurylobus
  (Peck Station Milkvetch)
G2  
Astragalus hamiltonii
  (Hamilton's Milkvetch)
G1  
Astragalus pterocarpus
  (Winged Milkvetch)
G3  
Astragalus tortipes
  (Sleeping Ute Milkvetch)
G1  
Astragalus uncialis
  (Currant Milkvetch)
G2  
Atriplex spinifera
  (Mojave Saltbush)
G3G4  
Calochortus excavatus
  (Inyo County Mariposa Lily)
G2  
Camissonia eastwoodiae
  (Grand Junction Suncup)
G2  
Camissonia nevadensis
  (Nevada Evening-primrose)
G3  
Cryptantha barnebyi
  (Barneby's Cat's-eye)
G3  
Cymopterus duchesnensis
  (Uinta Basin Spring-parsley)
G3  
Eriogonum clavellatum
  (Comb Wash Buckwheat)
G2  
Eriogonum diatomaceum
  (Churchill Narrows Buckwheat)
G1  
Eriogonum shockleyi var. packardiae
  (Cowpie Buckwheat)
G5T2Q  
Frankenia salina
  (Alkali Heath)
G3G4  
Glaucocarpum suffrutescens
  (Toad-flax Cress)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Loeflingia squarrosa ssp. artemisiarum
  (Sage-like Loeflingia)
G5T2T3  
Lomatium concinnum
  (Colorado Desert-parsley)
G2G3  
Mentzelia argillicola
  (Pioche Blazingstar)
G1G2  
Oryctes nevadensis
  (Nevada Oryctes)
G3  
Pediocactus bradyi
  (Brady's Pincushion Cactus)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Pediocactus peeblesianus ssp. fickeiseniorum
  (Fickeisen's Hedgehog Cactus)
G2T2 LE: Listed endangered
Pediomelum megalanthum var. epipsilum
  (Kane Breadroot)
G4?T1  
Penstemon franklinii
  (Ben Franklin's Beardtongue)
G1  
Proatriplex pleiantha
  (Mancos Saltbush)
G3  
Sclerocactus blainei
  (Blaine's Pincushion)
G1G2Q  
Sclerocactus nyensis
  (Nye County Fishhook Cactus)
G1Q  
Sclerocactus wetlandicus
  (Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus)
G3 LT: Listed threatened
Sphaeralcea caespitosa var. williamsiae
  (Jone's Globemallow)
G2T2  
Sphaeralcea janeae
  (Jane's Globemallow)
G1  
Tiquilia latior
  (Matted Tiquilia)
G3G4  
Xylorhiza venusta
  (Charming Woody-aster)
G3G4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Atriplex polycarpa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Atriplex spinifera G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ericameria nauseosa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lycium andersonii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia tridentata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis T5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Atriplex confertifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Atriplex obovata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Eriogonum diatomaceum G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Grayia spinosa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Krascheninnikovia lanata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Picrothamnus desertorum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Atriplex canescens G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ephedra nevadensis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Pediocactus bradyi G1 Succulent shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Pediocactus peeblesianus ssp. fickeiseniorum T2 Succulent shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Sclerocactus blainei G1 Succulent shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Sclerocactus nyensis G1 Succulent shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Sclerocactus wetlandicus G3 Succulent shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Asclepias sanjuanensis GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus cronquistii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus debequaeus G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus eurylobus G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus hamiltonii G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus tetrapterus G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus tortipes G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus uncialis G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Calochortus excavatus G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Camissonia eastwoodiae G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Chaenactis stevioides G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cryptantha barnebyi G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cymopterus duchesnensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum clavellatum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum shockleyi var. packardiae T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum shockleyi var. shockleyi T4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Glaucocarpum suffrutescens G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Loeflingia squarrosa ssp. artemisiarum T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lomatium concinnum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Mentzelia argillicola G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Oryctes nevadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pediomelum megalanthum var. epipsilum T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon franklinii G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Proatriplex pleiantha G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Psathyrotes annua G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sphaeralcea caespitosa var. williamsiae T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia ssp. grossulariifolia T4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sphaeralcea janeae G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Townsendia scapigera G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Salicornia rubra G5 Succulent forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Achnatherum hymenoides G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Achnatherum speciosum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Bouteloua gracilis G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus T5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Leymus ambiguus G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Leymus salinus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pascopyrum smithii G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pleuraphis jamesii G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pleuraphis rigida 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
Artemisiospiza belli
  (Bell's Sparrow)
G5      
Cynomys leucurus
  (White-tailed Prairie Dog)
G4      
Dipodomys spectabilis
  (Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat)
G5      
Gambelia wislizenii
  (Long-nosed Leopard Lizard)
G5      
Lepus californicus
  (Black-tailed Jackrabbit)
G5      
Lepus townsendii
  (White-tailed Jackrabbit)
G5      
Microdipodops megacephalus
  (Dark Kangaroo Mouse)
G4      
Ovis canadensis
  (Bighorn Sheep)
G4      
Perognathus flavus
  (Silky Pocket Mouse)
G5      
Perognathus parvus
  (Great Basin Pocket Mouse)
G5      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      
Sceloporus graciosus graciosus
  (Northern Sagebrush Lizard)
G5T5      
Sceloporus graciosus
  (Sagebrush Lizard)
G5      
Sceloporus magister
  (Desert Spiny Lizard)
G5      
Sonora semiannulata
  (Groundsnake)
G5      
Sorex preblei
  (Preble's Shrew)
G4      
Spea intermontana
  (Great Basin Spadefoot)
G5      
Vulpes macrotis
  (Kit Fox)
G4      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Range: This system occurs in the intermountain western U.S., extending in limited distribution into the southern Great Plains. In the Great Basin, this ecological system occupies sites west of the Wasatch Mountains, east of the Sierra Nevada, south of the Idaho batholith and north of the Mojave Desert. In Wyoming, this system occurs in the Great Divide and Bighorn basins.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
303-Western Great Plains C: Confident or certain
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
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
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
27 Central Shortgrass Prairie Confident or certain
28 Southern Shortgrass Prairie Confident or certain
4 Modoc Plateau and East Cascades Possible
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
8 Middle Rockies - Blue Mountains Possible
9 Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Predicted or probable
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Predicted or probable
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Confident or certain
13 Death Valley Basin Confident or certain
15 Mogollon Rim Confident or certain
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
17 Eastern Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Snake River Plain Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Never was there
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 Confident or certain
26 Chihuahuan Desert Never was there
27 Great Plains Tablelands Predicted or probable
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain
30 Northwestern Great Plains Possible
33 Western Great Plains Possible
34 Southern Great Plains Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5258
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1081
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2081

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 26Jan2016
Element Description Author(s): R. Crawford, M.S. Reid and K.A. Schulz

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


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