The Wetland Plant Application is a tool that allows users to query, view, and download plant community composition data from Utah’s wetlands. Some potential uses of the data include evaluating threats posed by noxious weed species, developing watershed-based species lists to ensure that regionally appropriate species are used in restoration activities, and identifying reference sites to use when setting mitigation standards. Data can also be used to support research on Utah’s wetlands to better understand these systems.

Each site is linked to a list of plant species observed at the site and their associated percent cover, using scientific and common names from USDA Plants. Plant data were collected by multiple organizations using a variety of methods. Wetlands for the sake of this application include any system considered to be wetland by the contributing organizations and include features such as aquatic beds and unvegetated mudflats and playas that may not meet regulatory definitions of wetland. Some privately owned sites are only discoverable through queries. These sites are not visible on the map, but do show up in query results. If you click on one of these sites in the table, you will be taken to a random location within the vicinity of the actual site. Though only data from reputable sources was included in this application, we make no guarantees about the accuracy of plant identification.

Data can be queried in four main ways. First, you can click on individual sites to see site attributes and associated plant species. Second, you can query by species to see a list of sites where a particular species was found. Third, you can query by site attributes to either obtain a list of sites having those attributes or a summary list of all species found at sites having those attributes. Data can be queried by major ecoregion, wetland class, watershed, and condition class. For example, you could obtain a list of all playa wetlands in the Jordan watershed that were considered reference condition or you could obtain a list of all species known from wet meadows in montane valleys. Last, you can use the Select features by polygon tool (upper left under the compass) to generate a list of sites that fall within a polygon you draw on the map.

Click on the three horizontal bars on the upper left to start exploring Utah’s wetlands.

Please contact Diane Menuz (801-538-7436) with questions or if you are interested in contributing data.

WETLAND CLASSIFICATION

Wetland types are presented by ecoregion, areas where ecosystems are generally similar based on patterns in geology, landforms, soils, vegetation, climate, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. Ecoregions are hierarchically arranged at four levels with 2 level I ecoregions, 3 level II ecoregions, 7 level III ecoregions, and 36 level IV ecoregions in Utah. Three level III ecoregions make up more than 95% of Utah, including the Central Basin and Range, the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, and the Colorado Plateau. The majority of wetland survey data contributed to this application to date have been from the Central Basin and Range and Wasatch and Uinta Mountains ecoregions, so wetland classes for now focus on those two ecoregions only. Within each ecoregion, wetland sites were further classified based on factors such as dominant overstory life form (herbaceous, shrub, tree), water regime, and landscape position. For the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, we also use level IV ecoregions as a factor in the classification. Sites with substantial mixing of two wetland types are assigned both a primary and secondary wetland type.

 

Central Basin and Range

Data were used from 204 sites surveyed in the Central Basin and Range by the UGS between 2013 and 2018 to develop seven initial wetland classes that take into account dominant overstory life form, water regime, salinity tolerance, and landscape position. More information about the development of the Central Basin and Range classes can be found here. It is anticipated that these wetland classes will be modified in 2020 at the conclusion of a two-year study of wetlands in the Central Basin and Range of Utah.

Wetland Class

Description

shallow water

Wetland consistently flooded with shallow water <1-m deep and very sparsely vegetated (≤2% cover).

aquatic bed

Wetland dominated by submergent or floating aquatic vegetation, typically with ≤10% cover of emergents.

emergent marsh

Wetland dominated by emergent forbs and graminoids and frequently inundated with water ≥15 cm in depth, and typically saturated when not inundated, though water depths may vary throughout the year depending on climate conditions and management.

mudflat

Wetland dominated by emergent forbs and graminoids and characterized by cycles of inundation and drying from adjacent lakes or artificial impoundments.

meadow

Wetland dominated by emergent forbs and graminoids. Sites frequently supported by high groundwater or shallow inundation of a few centimeters.

woody wetland

Wetland dominated by woody species, typically with ≥20% woody species cover, and frequently found along streams and rivers.

playa

Wetland with saline soils frequently either sparsely vegetated, dominated by annual species, or dominated by saline-tolerant woody perennials such as Allenrolfea occidentalis (iodinebush).

Wasatch and Uinta Mountains (including Wyoming Basin)

We classified wetlands sites in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains into ten classes based on dominant overstory life form, water regime, and location within level IV ecoregion. In some cases, a site that falls in one level IV ecoregion may be more similar floristically to sites in a different level IV ecoregion, as was found by UGS’ analysis of wetland data in the Weber watershed. These sites will be reclassified to the wetland class that best matches their vegetation communities whenever possible. We included the only site we had from the Wyoming Basin level III ecoregion in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains group because it had similar species composition to other sites in the ecoregion.

 

Wetland Class

Description

Level IV Ecoregion(s)

aquatic bed

Wetland dominated by submergent or floating aquatic vegetation, typically with ≤10% cover of emergents.

All ecoregions

emergent marsh

Wetland dominated by emergent forbs and graminoids and frequently inundated with water ≥15 cm in depth.

All ecoregions

wet meadow (mountain valley)

Wetland dominated by emergent forbs and graminoids, typically with ≤10% cover of woody species. Sites frequently supported by high groundwater or shallow inundation of a few centimeters.

Mountain Valleys

wet meadow (foothill)

Semiarid Foothills, Foothill Shrublands and Low Mountains

wet meadow (montane)

Wasatch Montane Zone

wet meadow (subalpine)

Mid-Elevation Uinta Mountains, Uinta Subalpine Forests, Alpine Zone

shrubland (foothills)

Wetland dominated by shrubs, typically with ≥25% cover of shrubs and higher shrub cover than tree cover.

Mountain Valleys, Semiarid Foothills

shrubland (montane)

Wasatch Montane Zone

shrubland (subalpine)

Mid-Elevation Uinta Mountains, Uinta Subalpine Forests, Alpine Zone

woodland

Wetland dominated by tree species, typically with ≥30% cover of trees.

All ecoregions

VEGETATION CONDITION

Sites were assigned vegetation condition classes based solely on plant community composition data. “High quality reference” sites are sites with the most intact plant communities for a particular wetland class, regardless of the degree of landscape disturbance adjacent to these sites or whether other stressors are present. Plant community intactness was evaluated using species-specific conservatism values (C-values). C-values between 1 and 10 are assigned to species based on their association with disturbance through a combination of best professional judgment, literature review, and/or field observations. Low values indicate that species are usually found at disturbed sites, high values indicate that species are associated with pristine sites, and values in the middle indicate that species may be found equally at either type of site. All non-native species are assigned a C-value of 0. We used C-values to calculate cover-weighted mean C for each site, which is the average C-value for all species at a site, weighted by the cover of each species.

“High quality reference” sites are those sites with a cover-weighted mean C (CW Mean C) value within the top 25% of sites for the wetland class, using all data available in May 2020. Sites with >25% cover by species lacking C-values were classified as “not enough data”. We did not classify any sites as reference for aquatic bed wetlands, sites with no vegetation, or wetland classes having <10 sites; these sites were all classified as “not enough data.” Sites with two wetland types were considered reference if they met or exceeded the cover-weighted mean C thresholds for both types.

Select Ecoregional Group

Select Wetland Type

Select Watershed (HUC8)

Select Wetland Condition




Species Scientific Name: