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Wetlands

Wet Meadows

Montane wet meadow, Klamath County

Montane wet meadow, Klamath County
(John A. Christy, Oregon Biodiversity Information Center

Wet meadows are a jumble of intergrading montane wetlands that occur along the hydrologic gradient between marshes, fens, and uplands. They are seasonally moist to wet, but surface water is absent except in streams and waterbodies, and many sites are dry by midsummer. Wet meadows are typically open and dominated by a diverse mix of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Patches of shrubs and trees are often present on elevated microsites or around the edges of the meadows. Fens, freshwater marshes, and lakes or ponds also are often present and intermixed with montane meadows, but the meadows are usually peripheral to wetter types and form the ecotone to dry upland forest. Limited organic matter accumulates in wet meadows because seasonal drying allows oxidation of this material. Historically, most montane wet meadows were grazed intensively by sheep, cattle, and horses, and the drier portions were often severely degraded by soil compaction, denudation, erosion, and subsequent invasion of exotic species. Many of these sites still show the effects of overgrazing 80 or more years after they were closed to livestock.

Wet Meadows Map

Wet Meadows






Habitat: Slopes, basins, or flats, mostly montane to subalpine.
Water regime: Perennially to seasonally flooded
Water chemistry: Fresh

Ecoregion*: BM = Blue Mountains, BR = Northern Basin and Range, CB = Columbia Basin, CR = Coast Range, EC = East Cascades, KM = Klamath Mountains, WC = West Cascades, WV = Willamette Valley  
Scientific & Common Name Global & State Rank Ecoregion*
wetland type image Calamagrostis canadensis Western Herbaceous Vegetation
Bluejoint reedgrass
G4S4 BM, EC, WC
wetland type image Carex angustata Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Wide-fruited sedge
G4S4 EC
wetland type image Carex illota Herbaceous Vegetation
Small-headed sedge
G3S3 BM
wetland type image Carex nebrascensis Herbaceous Vegetation
Nebraska sedge
BM, BR, EC
wetland type image Carex mendocinensis Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Mendocino sedge
G2S2 BM, BR, EC
wetland type image Carex nigricans Herbaceous Vegetation
Black alpine sedge
G4S4 BM, BR, EC, WC
wetland type image Carex pellita Herbaceous Vegetation
Wooly sedge
G3S3 BM
wetland type image Carex praegracilis Herbaceous Vegetation
Clustered field sedge
G3S2 BM
wetland type image Carex simulata Herbaceous Vegetation
Short-beaked sedge
G4S4 BM, BR, EC
wetland type image Carex scopulorum Herbaceous Vegetation
Holm sedge
G5S4 BM, BR, WC
wetland type image Deschampsia caespitosa Herbaceous Vegetation
Tufted hairgrass
G4S4 BM, EC
wetland type image Deschampsia caespitosa - Carex nebrascensis Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Tufted hairgrass - Nebraska sedge
G4S3 BM, BR, EC
wetland type image Deschampsia danthonioides - Danthonia unispicata Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Annual hairgrass - onespike oatgrass
G3S2 BM
wetland type image Juncus balticus Herbaceous Vegetation
Baltic rush
G5S5 CR, KM, WC, EC, CP, BM, BR
wetland type image Juncus balticus - Scirpus nevadensis Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Baltic rush - Nevada bulrush
G4S4 BM, EC
wetland type image Juncus bufonius Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Toad rush
G5S5 CR, WV, KM, WC, EC, CP, BM, BR
wetland type image Juncus nevadensis Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Sierra rush
G4S4 EC
wetland type image Mertensia paniculata - Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Bluebell - American stinging nettle
G4S4 BM
wetland type image Mimulus guttatus - (Mimulus spp.) Herbaceous Vegetation
Yellow monkeyflower - (monkeyflower spp.)
G4S4 BM, BR, EC, WC
wetland type image Poa cusickii Herbaceous Vegetation
Cusick bluegrass
G2S2 BM, BR, EC
wetland type image Poa secunda Herbaceous Vegetation
Sandberg bluegrass
G4S4 BR, EC
wetland type image Polygonum bistortoides - Ranunculus macounii Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
American bistort - Macoun's buttercup
G4S4 BM, BR
wetland type image Saxifraga odontoloma Herbaceous Vegetation
Brook saxifrage
G4S3 BM, EC, WC
wetland type image Senecio triangularis Herbaceous Vegetation
Arrowleaf groundsel
G5S4 BM, BR, EC, WC
wetland type image Veratrum californicum - Juncus nevadensis Herbaceous Vegetation
California false hellebore - Nevada rush
G3S3 EC, BR, BM

Authored by John A. Christy, Wetlands Ecologist, (ORBIC) Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (2012)

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