Sweetgale - Bluejoint
Myrica gale - Calamagrostis canadensis  
n = 2
II.C.2.j Sweetgale Graminoid Bog
Ecosystem: Tidal / Relict Drainageway

This type has been well described for Alaska, and is found in Chugach National Forest (DeVelice, et. al., 1999).

Sweetgale (Myrica gale) - Bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis) is a variable type on the Kenai Lowlands.  Two of the (Carex ramenskii) lawn; landward, white spruce (Picea glauca) and water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) dominate.

Two additional sweetgale / bluejoint stands were encountered near Nikiski in disturbed areas.  The fifth plot is along a drying Relict Glacial Drainageway at the northern edge of the large Relict Glacial Lakebed complex north of the Kenai airport.  That complex may be drying due to climate change, drainage associated with the airport, or a combination of each.  All five sites are associated with some form of disturbance.

The sixth site is located near Anchor Point in an unusual landscape position on a large peatland complex between two streams and below a small forested terrace riser.

Where wet, on the marine terrace, thick sweetgale, about 1 meter tall, is more or less uniformly mixed with a moderately open stand of bluejoint.  Few other plants are present, but marsh fivefinger (Comarum palustre) as well as small amounts of dwarf birch (Betula nana At the drier site north of the Kenai Airport, the sweetgale is more sparsely distributed, and of lower stature. 

Table 1.  Summary of plant frequency and average cover for plants occurring in the two marine terrace plots.

        Wetland Indicator Status


f  Average Cover    Alaska National
Myrica gale1,2 1.0 35.8 OBL OBL
Betula nana 0.8 4.6 FAC FAC, OBL
Salix1 fuscescens 0.7 4.5 FACW FACW
Vaccinium uliginosum 0.5 3.7 FAC FACU+, FACW
Andromeda polifolia 0.5 1.5   OBL OBL
Spiraea stevenii 0.5 0.8   FAC FAC
Calamagrostis canadensis  1.0 35.8 FAC FAC, OBL
Comarum palustre 0.8 2.1 OBL OBL
Moss 0.8 36.5
Open water 0.7 0.3
np- not present on the wetland indicator status list
1 Plant with known morphological adaptation for occurrence in wetlands (USACE, 1987)
Plant with known physiological adaptation for occurrence in wetlands (USACE, 1987)


 Introduction and Key to Plant Communities  

Introduction and Key to Ecosystems

    Kenai Hydric Soils    Map Unit Summary    Methods    Glossary

Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
The Alaska Natural Heritage Program
Environment and Natural Resource Institute
University of Alaska, Anchorage
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska  99501

04 May 2007 09:50