Wetland and Riparian Vegetation Types

Rocky Mountain Montane Basin Marsh & Wet Meadow
Rocky Mountain Montane Basin Marsh & Wet Meadow

Washington Natural Heritage Program (WNHP) ecologists have completed a statewide classification of native wetland and riparian vegetation called the Ecological Classification of Native Wetland & Riparian Vegetation of Washington. The objective was to provide a hierarchical classification to document wetland and riparian biodiversity within spatially explicit ecological templates. This classification provides a list of types based on a comprehensive assessment of the variety of ecological templates and associated biological diversity which characterize Washington’s wetland and riparian resource. Climate change poses many threat to ecosystem conservation and many researchers recommend protection of both biotic and abiotic variation on the landscape in order to allow ecosystems to adapt to potential climate change effects. Thus, by explicitly incorporating ecological templates into the wetland and riparian classification the likelihood of conservation success is improved.
The Ecological Classification of Native Wetland & Riparian Vegetation of Washington is essentially a modification of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (USNVC) that incorporates elements of other wetland classifications. Instead of using USNVC Alliances, WNHP developed a new classification level between the USNVC group and association levels called ‘Subgroup’. The Subgroup unit aggregates plant associations based on similar primary ecological drivers such as landscape position, water source, water chemistry, and elevation. Subgroups provide the ability to track the various ecological settings on the landscape while associations provide a mechanism to track the biotic diversity within those settings.
For more information, please see: 
   • Rare Plant and Ecosystem Locations section of the WNHP Data Explorer page.
Contact WNHP ecologists for current drafts of the following:
  • Guide to Wetland and Riparian Types of Washington State
  • Field Guide to Wetland and Riparian Plant Associations of Washington State

Wetland Subgroup Descriptions

Aquatic Beds
Intermountain & Montane West Freshwater Aquatic Vegetation
North Pacific Eelgrass Bed
North Pacific Freshwater Aquatic Vegetation
North Pacific Bog Woodland
North Pacific Coastal Bog Woodland
North Pacific Open Flat Bog
North Pacific Open Transitional Bog
North Pacific Raised Bog
North Pacific Raised Bog Woodland
North Pacific Rand Forest
Coastal Salt Marshes
Temperate Pacific High Brackish Marsh
Temperate Pacific Low Salt Marsh
Temperate Pacific Tidal High Salinity Lagoon
Temperate Pacific Tidal Low Salinity Lagoon
Exposed Freshwater Flats
Temperate Pacific Freshwater Tidal Surge Plain Mud Flat
Temperate Pacific Lowland Freshwater Wet Mudflat
Columbia Plateau Alkaline Fen & Seep
North Pacific Lowland Intermediate Fen
North Pacific Lowland Open Poor Fen
North Pacific Montane Intermediate Fen
North Pacific Montane Poor Fen
North Pacific Open Transitional Poor Fen
North Pacific Serpentine Fen
Rocky Mountain Calcareous Fen
Rocky Mountain Calcareous Swamp
Rocky Mountain Intermediate Fen
Rocky Mountain Patterned Fen
Rocky Mountain Poor Fen
Rocky Mountain Shrub Carr
Freshwater Tidal Wetlands
North Pacific Freshwater Tidal Surge Plain Forested Swamp
North Pacific Intertidal Flat
Temperate Pacific Freshwater Tidal Surge Plain Mudflat
Temperate Pacific Lowland Freshwater Wet Mudflat
Vancouverian Freshwater Tidal Surge Plain Marsh
Vancouverian Tidal Surge Plain Shrub Swamp
Interdunal Wetlands
North Pacific Interdunal Conifer Swamp
Vancouverian Interdunal Herbaceous Wetland
Vancouverian Interdunal Shrub Swamp
Interior Alkaline Wetlands
Columbia Plateau Alkaline Wet Meadow
Columbia Plateau Greasewood Flat
Columbia Plateau Salt Flat
Marshes and Wet Meadows
Columbia Plateau Basin Marsh
Columbia Plateau Streamside Marsh
Columbia Plateau Wet Meadow
Palouse Wet Meadow
Rocky Mountain Alpine-Subalpine Snowmelt Basin
Rocky Mountain Alpine-Subalpine Streamside Meadow
Rocky Mountain Montane Basin Marsh & Wet Meadow
Rocky Mountain Montane Streamside Marsh & Wet Meadow
Vancouverian Alpine-Subalpine Snowmelt Basin
Vancouverian Alpine-Subalpine Streamside Meadow
Vancouverian Lagg Marsh
Vancouverian Lowland Basin Marsh
Vancouverian Lowland Streamside Marsh
Vancouverian Montane Basin Marsh & Wet Meadow
Vancouverian Montane Streamside Marsh & Wet Meadow
Vancouverian Wet Bald
Vancouverian Wet Prairie
Western North American Ruderal Herbaceous Wetland
Riparian Areas
Riparian Forests
Columbia Plateau Headwater Riparian Woodland
Columbia Plateau Intermittent Riparian Woodland
Columbia Plateau Perennial Riparian Woodland
Columbia Plateau Ruderal Riparian Forest & Scrub
Columbia Plateau Xeroriparian Woodland
North Pacific Interior Montane Riparian Forest
North Pacific Lowland Floodplain Forest
North Pacific Lowland Headwater Riparian Forest
North Pacific Lowland Intermittent Riparian Forest & Woodland
North Pacific Montane Headwater Riparian Forest
North Pacific Montane Perennial Riparian Forest
Rocky Mountain Headwater Riparian Forest
Rocky Mountain Intermittent Riparian Forest
Rocky Mountain Perennial Riparian Forest
Rocky Mountain Xeroriparian Forest
Riparian Shrublands
Columbia Plateau Headwater Riparian Shrubland
Columbia Plateau Intermittent Riparian Shrubland
Columbia Plateau Perennial Riparian Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Headwater Riparian Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Intermittent Riparian Shrubland
Rocky Mountain Perennial Riparian Shrubland
Vancouverian Headwater Riparian Shrubland
Vancouverian Intermittent Riparian Shrubland
Vancouverian Perennial Riparian Shrubland
Seeps & Springs
Columbia Plateau Seep & Spring
Rocky Mountain Alpine-Subalpine Seep & Spring
Rocky Mountain Montane Seep & Spring
Vancouverian Alpine-Subalpine Seep & Spring
Vancouverian Lowland Seep & Spring
Vancouverian Montane Seep & Spring
Forested Swamps
North Pacific Conifer Basin Swamp
North Pacific Conifer Seepage Swamp
North Pacific Hardwood Basin Swamp
North Pacific Hardwood Seepage Swamp
North Pacific Ruderal Forested Swamp
Rocky Mountain Conifer Basin Swamp
Rocky Mountain Conifer Seepage Swamp
Rocky Mountain Hardwood Basin Swamp
Rocky Mountain Hardwood Seepage Swamp
Shrub Swamps
Rocky Mountain Shrub Basin Swamp
Rocky Mountain Shrub Seepage Swamp
Vancouverian Lagg Shrub Swamp
Vancouverian Shrub Basin Swamp
Vancouverian Shrub Seepage Swamp
Western North American Ruderal Wet Shrubland
Vernal Pools
Columbia Plateau Vernal Pool
Columbia Plateau Wooded Vernal Pool
North Pacific Vernal Pool
North Pacific Wooded Vernal Pool
Wet Rock
Rocky Mountain Waterfall & Spray Zone
Rocky Mountain Wet Cliff
Vancouverian Waterfall & Spray Zones
Vancouverian Wet Cliff