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Vegetation of the Elwha River estuary: Chapter 8 in Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal

Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5120-8

This report is Chapter 8 in Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal. For more information, see: Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5120
By:
, , , , and
Edited by:
Jeffrey J. Duda, Jonathan A. Warrick, and Christopher S. Magirl

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Abstract

The Elwha River estuary supports one of the most diverse coastal wetland complexes yet described in the Salish Sea region, in terms of vegetation types and plant species richness. Using a combination of aerial imagery and vegetation plot sampling, we identified 6 primary vegetation types and 121 plant species in a 39.7 ha area. Most of the estuary is dominated by woody vegetation types, with mixed riparian forest being the most abundant (20 ha), followed by riparian shrub (6.3 ha) and willow-alder forest (3.9 ha). The shrub-emergent marsh transition vegetation type was fourth most abundant (2.2 ha), followed by minor amounts of dunegrass (1.75 ha) and emergent marsh (0.2 ha). This chapter documents the abundance, distribution, and floristics of these six vegetation types, including plant species richness, life form, species origin (native or introduced), and species wetland indicator status. These data will serve as a baseline to which future changes can be compared, following the impending removal of Glines Canyon and Elwha Dams upstream on the Elwha River. Dam removals may alter many of the processes, materials, and biotic interactions that influence the estuary plant communities, including hydrology, salinity, sediment and wood transport, nutrients, and plant-microbe interactions.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Vegetation of the Elwha River estuary: Chapter 8 in Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2011-5120-8
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Western Fisheries Research Center
Description:
24 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal (SIR 2011-5120)
First page:
225
Last page:
248
Country:
United States
State:
Washington
Other Geospatial:
Elwha River