Riparian Wetland Vegetation
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Riparian Wetland Vegetation



Riparian Wetlands of Western New York and Northeastern U.S.

Riparian Wetlands of Western New York and Northeastern U.S.



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Riparian Wetland Vegetation Riparian Wetland Vegetation Presentation Transcript

  • Vegetation
  • Adaptations
    • Plants w/in riparian wetlands are extremely adaptable
    • Able to survive periods of high flow or very little flow
    • 3 different types of adaptation:
      • Morphological
      • Physiological
      • Whole plant strategies
  • Morphological (Adaptation to structure)
    • Most common adaptation in NE riparian plants = the development of aerenchymous systems
      • Diffusion of oxygen
      • Potentilla palustris, Juncus effusus, Glyceria grandis
    • Adventitious Organs (Cottonwood, Giant Reed)
    • Stem Hypertrophy (American Elm)
    • Rapid Vertical Growth
    • Prop Roots
  • Physiological
    • Diffusion of oxygen to roots
    • Oxygenation of root rhizosphere
    • Decrease water uptake
    • Altered nutrient absorption
    • Anaerobic respiration
  • Whole Plant Strategies
    • Delayed germination of seeds
      • Cottonwood Seeds ( Populous Deltoids)
    • Buoyant seedlings
    • Growth dormancy
    • Development of coleoptiles
      • Wild Rice ( Zizania palustris)
  • Trees & Bushes
    • Honeylocust ( Gleditsia triacanthos ): Easy to identify based on the thorny spines on the trunk.
    • Black Ash ( Fraximus nigra ): The northernmost ash, this ash is predominantly seen where soil drainage is poor, close to streams.
    • Green Ash ( Fraxxinus pennsylvanica ): Really likes alluvial soils and is the most widespread ash.
    • Elderberry ( Sambucus canadensis ): An elder that extends across most of the eastern portion of the U.S. Creates really good jam with fruit. Many uses like home remedies, whistles, maple taps, wine, etc.
    • Red Osier Dogwood ( Cornus stolonifera ): Commonly used for erosion control of stream banks. Looks like a large shrub with several stems and forms in clusters.
    • Black Willow ( Salix nigra ): Often seen with cottonwoods, these trees grow along stream banks and flood plains. Also has lots of uses as wood (furniture, barrels, toys, etc.)
    • Sandbar Willow ( Salix exigua ): Greatest range of all willows, very common near riverbanks, sandbars and silt flats.
    • Pussy Willow ( Salix discolor ): Notorious for their fuzzy catkins, these plants can be found across nearly all of New York State.
    • Bebb Willow ( Salix bebbiana ): Also called a diamond willow due to diamond patterns that appear on the plants trunks due to fungi.
    • American Elm ( Ulmus americana ): Very well known and abundant species that took a severe population loss in the 1930's due to a fungus spread by the elm bark beetles.
    • Speckled Alder ( Alnus rugosa ): A shrub like plant that grows up to 20 feet and is distinguishable by the sunken veins on the leaves.
    • Eastern Cottonwood ( Populus deltoides ): Name refers to cottony seeds. This is one of the fastest growing trees, though they are generally short lived.
    • Swamp White Oak ( Quercus bicolor ): Most common Oak seen in Riparian soils in the Northeast.
    • Silver Maple ( Acer saccharinum ): Very rapid growth and popular as a shade tree, but has a lot of litter.
    • Red Maple ( Acer rubrum ): Greatest North to South distribution of any Maple.
    • Sycamore ( Palantus occidentalis ): Has very large trunk straight trunks with bark that peels off in large thin flakes. Extend across much of the Eastern U.S.
  • Other trees that may be seen
    • White-Cedar ( Thuja occidentalis ): Tend to grow in neutral to alkaline soils and stretch down to about New York's border.
    • River Birch ( Betula nigra ): Only birch that occurs at low altitudes.
    • Tamarack ( Larix laricina ): Deciduous tree sporadically grows in Western New York.
  • Other Plants
    • Fringed Loosestrife ( Lysimachia ciliata ): Seen in almost every state in the U.S.
    • Nodding Bur Marigold ( Biodens cernua ): Grows to about 3 feet and is can be seen where there is wet ground.
    • Golden Ragwort ( Senecio aureus ): Common in the eastern U.S. With yellow flowers.
    • Cowslip ( Caltha palustris ): Plant stands about 2 feet tall and resembles large Buttercups.
    • Swamp Buttercup ( Ranunculus septentrionalis ): Hollow stems and bright yellow flowers distinguish this plant.
    • Seep-Spring Monkeyflower ( Mimulus guttatus ): Seen from mountains to lowlands this plant is extremely adaptable.
    • Yellow Flag ( Iris pseudacorus ): Seen along the edges of streams, this plant usually grows in clumps and has very apparent flowers.
    • Common Cattail ( Typha latifolia ): This plant is very common across the U.S. And while it is primarily seen in marshes, it will take root along the edges of streams and riverbanks.
    • Turtlehead ( Chelone glabra ): Especially common near stream banks and low ground wet land. The distinctive shape of the flower gives the name.
    • Lizard's Tail ( Saururus cernuus ): Though this species is usually found in the south it has bee seen all the way up to Ontario, Canada.
    • Buttonbush ( Cephalanthus occidentalis ): Common along the borders of streams.
    • Water Parsnip ( Sium suave ): Closely resembles the Water Hemlock and can be seen along muddy shores.
    • Watercress ( Nasturtium officinale ): This plant is found throughout the U.S. And has a very pungent smell.
    • Tall Meadow Rue ( Thalictrum polygamum ): Tall plant which can grow up to 8 feet. During the blooming season this plant is constantly visited by bees and butterflies.
    • Swamp Milkweed ( Asclepias incarnata ): Has large cluster of pink flowers when in bloom.
    • Swamp Loosestrife ( Decodon verticillatus ): Can grow up to 8 feet tall and is a shrub like plant that can grow in pretty sizable patches.
    • Spotted Joe-Pye Weed ( Eupatorium maculatum ): Grows mostly in Northeastern U.S. And has a stem with spots on it hence its name.
    • Blue Flag ( Iris versicolor ): Very colorful native Northeastern Iris with distinct violet-blue flowers.
    • True Forget-me-not ( Myosotis scorpioides ): Seen along stream banks, this was initially introduced by Europeans.
    • Cinnamon Fern ( Osmunda cinnamomea ): Tall fern that is covered in cinnomon-brown wool in the spring.
    • Marsh Fern ( Thelyperis palustris ): The most common of the wetland ferns.
    • Green Dragon ( Arisaema dracontium ): Similar to the Jack-in-the-pulpit, this plant is very rare.
    • Wood Nettle ( Laportea canadensis ): Grows to a maximum of 4 feet and has small greenish flowers.
    • Clearweed ( Pilea pumila ): Small annual that grows just over 1 foot tall and has a distinctive clear stem.
    • Swamp Saxifrage ( Saxifraga penslyvanica ): Grows in wet areas along alluvial banks.
    • Wild Rice ( Zizania aquatica ) An annual grass that is seen where there is slow moving water and periodic flooding.
    • Wool Grass ( Scirpus cyperinus ): Especially important to waterfowl, providing cover and food.
    • Giant Reed ( Phragmites australis ): Tall and thick stemmed grass that is initially reddish, but then turns silver. Often seen in large clusters.
    • Soft Rush ( Juncus effusus ): Has a soft grasslike stem and is found along most of the Northern U.S.
    • Creeping Love Grass ( Eragrostis hypnoides ): Found mostly along muddy shores and sandbars of streams and rivers.
    • Annual Blue Grass ( Poa annua ): Sometimes found in flooded areas.
    • American Manna Grass ( Glyceria grandis ): Grows across most of U.S. Especially near water or wet places.
  • Vegetation Habitat
    • Vegetation is an integral part of a web of fish aquatic and semi-aquatic vertebrates, microbes and organic detritus.
    • Often times dependent on one another, if one part fails all will fail.
      • E.g. Beaver ( Castor Canadensis)
  • Vegetation Diversity
    • Dependent on:
    • Location w/in system
      • Further downstream & wider = more vegetation
    • Channel gradient
    • Lithology
    • Level of confinement
  • Effects of Vegetation
    • Regulates runoff of alluvial systems
      • ET -> back into the system
      • Moderates soil condition
      • Leaf litter alters nutrients available
      • Temperature due to shading (effects nutrient cycle)
      • Alters geomorphology of rivers
        • Undercut banks -> erosion
  • Viability of Vegetation
    • Natural Influences
      • Fires
      • Drought
      • Mass Wasting
      • Wind Throw
      • Herbivory
    • Human Influences
      • Logging
      • Urbanization
      • Farming
      • Damming
  • Vegetation recovery time
  • Functions of Vegetation
    • Flood Mitigators
    • Erosion Prevention
    • Purify Water
      • phosphorous, nitrates, sulphates, metals, carbon sinks
      • Downside = when species die materials can reenter the system.