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Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Wet Meadow Habitat Study
Goal

This project was designed to classify and describe what various wet meadow plant communities occur within the southern portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

We focused our field efforts on one of the most intact habitats on the refuge, the wet meadow habitat. Goals of this field research were to:

  • Classify and describe the various types of wet meadow plant communities found within wetland habitats on the refuge.
  • Coordinate that resulting classification with existing Oregon and U.S. National Vegetation Classification units.
  • Determine the current condition status of the wet meadow habitat using NatureServe’s approach to Ecological Integrity Assessments.
Significance

An up-to-date, accurate and standardized vegetation map is a useful tool for land management. This map will be used not only to understand current amount and locations of various habitats, but also to target and prioritize research projects and management activities.

Using U.S. National Vegetation Classification standard units shows how important this refuge is in protecting specific western habitats and allows managers to “roll up” the same habitats across refuges throughout the region and nationwide, so individual refuge assessments can lead to regional and national assessments. An important part of this project is the crosswalk of the many wildlife habitat names USFWS uses to standard National Vegetation Classification units. Using standard classification units allows for comparisons with other mapped areas across the region and the nation, which tells us how well we are protecting and conserving the biodiversity at local, regional and national scales.