Cottonwoods of the Midwest: A Community Profile
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS GEOTECHNICAL AND STRUCTURES LAB
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This profile was prepared to assist researchers at the U.S. Army Engineer District, Omaha and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center ERDC in preparing a community-based index model for the cottonwood Populus spp. community. The profile will also supply requirements and suggestions for restoration initiatives on the Missouri River. The cottonwood community is defined as a plant community dominated by cottonwood trees, with associated plant and animal species, commonly found in floodplains and the next higher elevations. This profile addresses two species of cottonwoods over their range but highlights Midwestern literature, specifically Nebraska and South Dakota. Preparation of the profile was funded as part of a reimbursable project for the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Community Templates research work unit in the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program EMRRP. Dr. Wilma A. Mitchell, Dr. L. Jean O Neil, and Antisa C. Webb, ERDC Environmental Laboratory EL, Vicksburg, Mississippi, prepared this technical note. In their assessment of ecological communities that have been subjected to severe loss and degradation, Noss et al. 1995 provided literature that describes large percentage losses to the plant communities of many riparian and floodplain systems across the county. Lytle and Merritt 2004 cited numerous studies documenting the decline of the cottonwood community, with reasons largely related to changes in hydrologic flows in the last decades and related changes in groundwater and sediment movement.