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Evaluating Vegetation in the National Wetland Condition Assessment
Magee, T., M. Fennessy, K. Blocksom, R. Sullivan, AND N. Kirchner. Evaluating Vegetation in the National Wetland Condition Assessment. Presented at Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, May 18 - 23, 2014.
Vegetation is a key biotic indicator of wetland ecological condition and forms a critical element of the USEPA 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment. Data describing plant species composition and abundance, vegetation structure, and ground surface characteristics were collected in 2011 from 1,138 (974 probability, and 164 hand-picked) 0.5 ha wetland assessment areas across the contiguous United States. Sites represent 7 USFWS Status and Trends wetland classes. Three approaches are used to evaluate vegetation and develop vegetation indicators of condition: 1) floristic quality assessment, 2) a vegetation multi-metric index (MMI) of condition, and 3) non-native plant species metrics. In preparation for these analyses, we compiled or developed Coefficients of Conservatisms (CC) and determined native status for the 13,000 plant taxa-state pairs observed in the NWCA. We developed and screened 538 candidate vegetation metrics to determine the best metric set for inclusion in the vegetation MMI. We discuss results of the floristic quality analysis (e.g., floristic quality index: mean=21, range=0-52), the MMI development process, and the status of alien species (e.g., relative alien/cryptogenic cover: mean=13%, range = 0-100%) across the NWCA.
This presentation reports on results from the USEPA National Wetland Condition Assessent,the first ever nationwide evaluation of wetlands. Vegetation is a key indicator of wetland condition, and results provide a baseline description of ecological condition and have potential to provide insights into wetland managment. The Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting provides the opportunity to share results and gain input from a wide audience of scientists and wetland managers.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH