Invalid Unit Specified
Division Detail Report: D031
Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata - Salix boothii / Carex spp. Western North American Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland Division

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
This division contains marshes, wet meadows and shrublands, singly and in mosaics, along riparian corridors, around vernal pools, depressions, seeps and springs on mineral soils or shallow organic layers over mineral substrates in temperate (and possibly southern boreal) latitudes of western North America.
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Translated Name:Sitka Alder - Booth's Willow / Sedge species Western North American Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland Division
Colloquial Name:Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
This is a broad division that covers freshwater marshes, wet meadows and shrub-dominated wetlands found at all elevations up to, but excluding, alpine areas throughout the Pacific Coast, from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to southern Oregon, and throughout the temperate (and possibly southern boreal) interior of western U.S. and Canada.

Species composition is highly varied across this division. In the coastal Pacific Northwest shrublands dominant canopy species include Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, various species of Salix (such as Salix commutata and Salix sitchensis), Spiraea douglasii, Malus fusca, Cornus sericea, Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia (= Alnus tenuifolia), Alnus viridis ssp. crispa (= Alnus crispa), and Myrica gale. The interior regions riparian shrublands include Alnus incana, Betula occidentalis, Acer glabrum, Artemisia cana, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata, Cornus sericea, Crataegus douglasii, Crataegus rivularis, Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda, Forestiera pubescens, Oplopanax horridus, Philadelphus lewisii, Prunus virginiana, Rhus trilobata, Rosa nutkana, Rosa woodsii, many Salix species, Shepherdia argentea, and Symphoricarpos spp.

Freshwater herbaceous marshes along the coast tend to be dominated by species that include Deschampsia beringensis, Festuca rubra, Argentina egedii (= Potentilla egedii), Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus, Heracleum maximum, Parnassia palustris, Lupinus nootkatensis, Angelica lucida, Carex mackenziei, Leymus mollis, Carex lyngbyei, and Carex obnupta. Maritime Alaska freshwater marshes are described as having Carex rostrata, Equisetum fluviatile, Carex aquatilis var. dives (= Carex sitchensis), Menyanthes trifoliata, Comarum palustre, Eleocharis palustris, and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani. Freshwater mudflats can be dominated by Eleocharis obtusa, Lilaeopsis occidentalis, Crassula aquatica, Limosella aquatica, Gnaphalium palustre, Eragrostis hypnoides, and Ludwigia palustris. Non-coastal freshwater marshes are dominated by mostly graminoids (Carex, Scirpus and/or Schoenoplectus, Eleocharis, Juncus, Typha latifolia) but also some forbs such as Sparganium, Sagittaria, Bidens, Cicuta, Rorippa, and Mimulus.

Vernal pool species composition is highly specific and often contains many endemic species. Characteristic plant species in northern California and the southern Cascades vernal pool herbaceous communities include Blennosperma nanum, Callitriche marginata, Cicendia quadrangularis, Cressa truxillensis, Downingia bella, Downingia insignis, Epilobium densiflorum (= Boisduvalia densiflora), Eryngium aristulatum, Eryngium mathiasiae, Eryngium vaseyi, Lasthenia ferrisiae, Lasthenia glaberrima, Plagiobothrys leptocladus (= Allocarya leptoclada), Pogogyne douglasii, Psilocarphus brevissimus, Sedella pumila (= Parvisedum pumilum), Spergularia salina (= Spergularia marina), and many others. Less than a third of the California vernal pool species overlap with vernal pools found further north and are not listed here.

High-elevation wet meadows in the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions are often dominated by Carex illota, Carex lachenalii, Carex nigricans, Carex vernacula, Deschampsia caespitosa, Juncus drummondii, and forbs Caltha leptosepala, Trollius laxus, Phippsia algida, Rorippa alpina, Sibbaldia procumbens, and Trifolium parryi. Lower-elevation wet meadows include Calamagrostis canadensis, Calamagrostis stricta, Carex aquatilis, Carex bolanderi, Carex exsiccata, Carex illota, Carex microptera, Carex scopulorum, Carex utriculata, Eleocharis quinqueflora, Glyceria striata (= Glyceria elata), Juncus drummondii, Juncus nevadensis, and Scirpus and/or Schoenoplectus spp. Forb species include Camassia quamash, Cardamine cordifolia, Dodecatheon jeffreyi, Phippsia algida, Rorippa alpina, Senecio triangularis, Trifolium parryi, and Veratrum californicum. Due to intensive historical sheep and cattle grazing and other land uses, wet meadows throughout the West can become dominated by non-native species such as Agrostis gigantea, Agrostis stolonifera, Conyza canadensis, Phalaris arundinacea, Phragmites australis, Poa palustris, and Poa pratensis.

Stands occur on poorly-drained or well-drained seasonally wet to saturated soils that may dry out completely during the growing season, and are located in depressions, around lakes or ponds, or river terraces and floodplains where water tables fluctuate seasonally. Some depressions are poorly-drained with fine-textured organic, muck or mineral soils with standing water common throughout the growing season. Others are semipermanently to seasonally flooded during the growing season, or have only subsurface saturation. Substrates range from sand dunes to hardpan caliche layers, bedrock or shallow organic over mineral soils, loose unconsolidated highly stratified alluvial material. Water sources may be groundwater, riverflows, direct rainwater or snowmelt runoff. The physical setting for these wetlands is highly variable and includes interdunal areas, delta deposits, uplifted marshes, beach deposits; mudflats of seasonally flooded shallow lakebeds and floodplains; streambanks of permanent, intermittent and ephemeral streams; active channel low-gradient gravel bars; steep avalanche chutes; and stagnant oxbow lakes, levees, and sloughs. The freshwater emergent marshes and wet meadows can be found on mineral soils at low and high elevations. Bogs and fens on true organic soils (>40 cm depth) are in their own division, ~North American Bog & Fen Division (D029)$$.
Shrublands and wet herbaceous communities on saturated to well-drained but seasonally wet soils, that can be fine-grained muck or mineral overlain by shallow organic soils (<40 cm), but are for the most part mineral soil wetlands. A diagnostic list of species is needed for this division.
This division does not include bogs and fens which are defined by deep (>40 cm) organic soils. The degree to which this type extends into the boreal is not clear; its relation to 2.C.4.Np Circumpolar Arctic & Subarctic Freshwater Marsh & Wet Meadow Division (D320) needs to be resolved.
Synonomy:

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Barbour and Billings 2000
  • Barbour et al. 2007a
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017a
  • Mitsch and Gosselink 2000
States/Provinces:AB, AK, AZ, BC, CA, CO, ID, MT, MXBC, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Nations:CA, MX, US
Range:This type occurs throughout temperate and possibly southern boreal regions of western North America, from the Aleutian Islands to Baja California east into the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains and possibly as far north as the southern boreal regions of northwestern Canada and Alaska.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
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No Data Available
Species composition is highly varied across this division. In the coastal Pacific Northwest shrublands dominant canopy species include Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, various species of Salix (such as Salix commutata and Salix sitchensis), Spiraea douglasii, Malus fusca, Cornus sericea, Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia (= Alnus tenuifolia), Alnus viridis ssp. crispa (= Alnus crispa), and Myrica gale. The interior regions riparian shrublands include Alnus incana, Betula occidentalis, Acer glabrum, Artemisia cana, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata, Cornus sericea, Crataegus douglasii, Crataegus rivularis, Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda, Forestiera pubescens, Oplopanax horridus, Philadelphus lewisii, Prunus virginiana, Rhus trilobata, Rosa nutkana, Rosa woodsii, many Salix species, Shepherdia argentea, and Symphoricarpos spp.

Freshwater herbaceous marshes along the coast tend to be dominated by species that include Deschampsia beringensis, Festuca rubra, Argentina egedii (= Potentilla egedii), Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus, Heracleum maximum, Parnassia palustris, Lupinus nootkatensis, Angelica lucida, Carex mackenziei, Leymus mollis, Carex lyngbyei, and Carex obnupta. Maritime Alaska freshwater marshes are described as having Carex rostrata, Equisetum fluviatile, Carex aquatilis var. dives (= Carex sitchensis), Menyanthes trifoliata, Comarum palustre, Eleocharis palustris, and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani. Freshwater mudflats can be dominated by Eleocharis obtusa, Lilaeopsis occidentalis, Crassula aquatica, Limosella aquatica, Gnaphalium palustre, Eragrostis hypnoides, and Ludwigia palustris. Non-coastal freshwater marshes are dominated by mostly graminoids (Carex, Scirpus and/or Schoenoplectus, Eleocharis, Juncus, Typha latifolia) but also some forbs such as Sparganium, Sagittaria, Bidens, Cicuta, Rorippa, and Mimulus.

Vernal pool species composition is highly specific and often contains many endemic species. Characteristic plant species in northern California and the southern Cascades vernal pool herbaceous communities include Blennosperma nanum, Callitriche marginata, Cicendia quadrangularis, Cressa truxillensis, Downingia bella, Downingia insignis, Epilobium densiflorum (= Boisduvalia densiflora), Eryngium aristulatum, Eryngium mathiasiae, Eryngium vaseyi, Lasthenia ferrisiae, Lasthenia glaberrima, Plagiobothrys leptocladus (= Allocarya leptoclada), Pogogyne douglasii, Psilocarphus brevissimus, Sedella pumila (= Parvisedum pumilum), Spergularia salina (= Spergularia marina), and many others. Less than a third of the California vernal pool species overlap with vernal pools found further north and are not listed here.

High-elevation wet meadows in the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions are often dominated by Carex illota, Carex lachenalii, Carex nigricans, Carex vernacula, Deschampsia caespitosa, Juncus drummondii, and forbs Caltha leptosepala, Trollius laxus, Phippsia algida, Rorippa alpina, Sibbaldia procumbens, and Trifolium parryi. Lower-elevation wet meadows include Calamagrostis canadensis, Calamagrostis stricta, Carex aquatilis, Carex bolanderi, Carex exsiccata, Carex illota, Carex microptera, Carex scopulorum, Carex utriculata, Eleocharis quinqueflora, Glyceria striata (= Glyceria elata), Juncus drummondii, Juncus nevadensis, and Scirpus and/or Schoenoplectus spp. Forb species include Camassia quamash, Cardamine cordifolia, Dodecatheon jeffreyi, Phippsia algida, Rorippa alpina, Senecio triangularis, Trifolium parryi, and Veratrum californicum.

Due to intensive historical sheep and cattle grazing and other land uses, wet meadows throughout the West can become dominated by non-native species such as Agrostis gigantea, Agrostis stolonifera, Conyza canadensis, Phalaris arundinacea, Phragmites australis, Poa palustris, and Poa pratensis.
Soils/substrate: Stands occur on poorly-drained or well-drained seasonally wet to saturated soils that may dry out completely during the growing season, and are located in depressions, around lakes or ponds, or river terraces and floodplains where water tables fluctuate seasonally. The vegetation can occur as relatively simple stands of wet shrublands, marshes and wet meadows, or in extensive mosaics of all three kinds. Some depressions are poorly-drained with fine-textured organic, muck or mineral soils with standing water common throughout the growing season. Others are semipermanently to seasonally flooded during the growing season, or have only subsurface saturation. Substrates range from sand dunes to hardpan caliche layers, bedrock or shallow organic over mineral soils, loose unconsolidated highly stratified alluvial material. Water sources may be groundwater, riverflows, direct rainwater or snowmelt runoff. The physical setting for these wetlands is highly variable and includes interdunal areas, delta deposits, uplifted marshes, beach deposits; mudflats of seasonally flooded shallow lakebeds and floodplains; streambanks of permanent, intermittent and ephemeral streams; active channel low-gradient gravel bars; steep avalanche chutes; and stagnant oxbow lakes, levees, and sloughs. The freshwater emergent marshes and wet meadows can be found on mineral soils at low and high elevations.
Moderate
No Data Available
Authors:
G. Kittel and D. Faber-Langendoen      Version Date: 04Jan2016


References:
  • Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. 2000. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.
  • Barbour, M. G., T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr, editors. 2007a. Terrestrial vegetation of California, third edition. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, S. Gawler, M. Hall, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, L. Sneddon, K. Schulz, J. Teague, M. Russo, K. Snow, and P. Comer, editors. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • Mitsch, W. J., and J. G. Gosselink. 2000. Wetlands. Third edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 920 pp.


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

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Author(s). publicationYear. Description Title [last revised revisionDate]. United States National Vegetation Classification. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, D.C.

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About this document
This document contains type descriptions at the Division level of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. These descriptions were primarily written by NatureServe ecologists in collaboration with Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee and a wide variety of state, federal and private partners as a part of the implementation of the National Vegetation Classification. Formation descriptions were written by the Hierarchy Revisions Working Group. The descriptions are based on consultation with natural resource professionals, published literature, and other vegetation classification systems. The Ecological Society of America's Panel on Vegetation Classification is responsible for managing the review and formal adoption of these types into the National Vegetation Classification. Partners involved in the implementation of the USNVC include:

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  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
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Disclaimer:
Given the dynamic nature of the standard, it is possible a type description is incomplete or in revision at the time of download; therefore, users of the data should track the date of access and read the revisions section of the USNVC.org website to understand the current status of the classification. While USNVC data have undergone substantial review prior to posting, it is possible that some errors or inaccuracies have remained undetected.

For information on the process used to develop these descriptions see:

Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, D. Tart, B. Hoagland, C. Josse, G. Navarro, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, A. Weakley, P. Comer. 2014. EcoVeg: A new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84:533-561 (erratum 85:473).

Franklin, S., D. Faber-Langendoen, M. Jennings, T. Keeler-Wolf, O. Loucks, A. McKerrow, R.K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2012. Building the United States National Vegetation Classification. Annali di Botanica 2: 1-9.

Jennings, M. D., D. Faber-Langendoen, O. L. Louckes, R. K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2009. Standards for associations and alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. Ecological Monographs 79(2):173-199.

FGDC [Federal Geographic Data Committee]. 2008. Vegetation Classification Standard, FGDC-STD-005, Version 2. Washington, DC., USA. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)