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Classification
Scientific Name: Atlantic Coastal Plain Embayed Region Tidal Freshwater Marsh
Unique Identifier: CES203.259

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Summary: Embayed region tidal freshwater marshes are characterized by fresh to oligohaline waters which are driven by irregular wind tides, with minimal lunar tidal influence. They are the predominant marsh system in the drowned creeks and inland estuary shores of the embayed region of northeastern North Carolina and adjacent Virginia. This system typically occurs as complexes of several associations dominated by large graminoids such as Spartina cynosuroides, Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense, Schoenoplectus pungens, Typha angustifolia, Typha latifolia, and Juncus roemerianus, sometimes with species-rich associations of shorter graminoids, forbs, and floating or submerged aquatic plants. While some association dominants are tolerant of brackish water, they are associated with plants restricted to oligohaline or freshwater. Irregular flooding and fire are both important forces in this system, and rising sea level is a particularly important driver of long-term trends.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: The distinction between this system and other tidal freshwater marsh systems is based on the distinctive dynamics of the irregular wind tidal flooding.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL004150 Typha latifolia Southern Ruderal Marsh
CEGL004178 Cladium mariscus Tidal Salt Marsh
CEGL004187 Phragmites australis ssp. australis Tidal Ruderal Marsh
CEGL004189 Schoenoplectus pungens - (Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis) Tidal Marsh
CEGL004193 Spartina alterniflora - Lilaeopsis chinensis Salt Marsh
CEGL004195 Spartina cynosuroides Salt Marsh
CEGL004201 Typha angustifolia - Hibiscus moscheutos Salt Marsh
CEGL004202 Zizania aquatica Tidal Marsh
CEGL004314 Carex stricta - Peltandra virginica - Sagittaria (lancifolia ssp. media, latifolia) Tidal Marsh
CEGL004318 Halodule wrightii Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL004472 Nuphar advena Tidal Marsh
CEGL004473 Sagittaria subulata - Limosella australis Tidal Marsh
CEGL004628 Eleocharis fallax - Eleocharis rostellata - Schoenoplectus americanus - Sagittaria lancifolia Tidal Marsh
CEGL004656 Morella cerifera - Rosa palustris / Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens Tidal Shrubland
CEGL004660 Juncus roemerianus - Pontederia cordata Tidal Marsh
CEGL004705 Zizaniopsis miliacea Tidal Marsh
CEGL006058 Isoetes riparia Tidal Marsh
CEGL006352 Eriocaulon parkeri - Polygonum punctatum Tidal Marsh
CEGL007741 Spartina cynosuroides - Panicum virgatum - Phyla lanceolata Salt Marsh



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
Tidal / Estuarine Freshwater
Graminoid  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Herbaceous  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aeschynomene virginica
  (Sensitive Joint-vetch)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Euphyes berryi
  (Berry's Skipper)
G2  
Lampropeltis getula sticticeps
  (Outer Banks Kingsnake)
G5T2Q  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aeschynomene virginica G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense T5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus roemerianus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schoenoplectus pungens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina cynosuroides G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Spartina patens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Typha angustifolia G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Typha latifolia G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Zizania aquatica G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Zizaniopsis miliacea 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
Chelydra serpentina
  (Snapping Turtle)
G5      
Euphyes berryi
  (Berry's Skipper)
G2      
Lampropeltis getula sticticeps
  (Outer Banks Kingsnake)
G5T2Q      
Nerodia sipedon
  (Northern Watersnake)
G5      
Sylvilagus palustris
  (Marsh Rabbit)
G5      
Thamnophis sauritus
  (Eastern Ribbonsnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: NC, VA
Global Range: This system is restricted to the embayed region of North Carolina and Virginia, with the best development in coastal areas along the North Carolina-Virginia border. The transition to areas with more lunar tidal influence is fairly gradual to the south over a space of 50 miles.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
57 Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
58 Eastern Coastal Plain Confident or certain
60 Chesapeake Bay Confident or certain
61 Northern Appalachia Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9276

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 21May2014
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans, M. Schafale, G. Fleming, C. Nordman

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


References
  • Bertness, M., B. R. Silliman, and R. Jefferies. 2004. Salt marshes under siege: Agricultural practices, land development and overharvesting of the seas explain complex ecological cascades that threaten our shorelines. American Scientist 92:54-61.

  • 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.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.


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Data last updated: March 2019