Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States

Emergent Wetland

Definition. The Emergent Wetland Class is characterized by erect, rooted, herbaceous hydrophytes, excluding mosses and lichens. This vegetation is present for most of the growing season in most years. These wetlands are usually dominated by perennial plants. All water regimes are included except subtidal and irregularly exposed.

Description. In areas with relatively stable climatic conditions, Emergent Wetlands maintain the same appearance year after year. In other areas, such as the prairies of the central United States, violent climatic fluctuations cause them to revert to an open water phase in some years (Stewart and Kantrud 1972). Emergent Wetlands are found throughout the United States and occur in all Systems except the Marine. Emergent Wetlands are known by many names, including marsh, meadow, fen, prairie pothole, and slough. Areas that are dominated by pioneer plants which become established during periods of low water are not Emergent Wetlands and should be classified as Vegetated Unconsolidated Shores or Vegetated Streambeds.

Subclasses and Dominance Types.

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