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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: PLANTS OF THE COLDWATER RIVER, MISSISSIPPI, USA: COMMUNITY RECORDS ALONG THE HYDROLOGIC GRADIENT IN THE LOESS HILLS

Authors
item Cooper, Charles
item Huneycutt, M - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
item Testa, Sam

Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2005
Publication Date: April 26, 2005
Citation: Cooper, C.M., Huneycutt, M.B., Testa III, S. 2005. Plants of the Coldwater River, Mississippi, USA: Community records along the hydrologic gradient in the loess hills. 35th Annual Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference. p. 7.

Technical Abstract: The natural channel of the upper Coldwater River, which drains a large (565 km2) multi-use catchment in the loess hills of Mississippi upstream of Arkabutla Reservoir, has been predominantly un-impacted by channel modifications or recent large-scale land clearing. The river is generally bordered by floodplain forest in various stages of growth, and stream-floodplain interaction occurs frequently. Currently, however, pervasive urbanization from the highly urbanized region near Memphis, Tennessee, is altering land use and may eventually significantly alter the hydrology, floodplain land-use, and biological communities occurring along this natural resource. To document existing conditions, a study of plant communities at eight locations along this river reach was conducted with recurring visits to sixteen 100m transects over a period of one year. A total of 294 species occurring in 86 families were recorded. Greatest community richness was observed at the most upstream location with 165 plant species in 111 genera representing 59 plant families. Lowest richness (84 species) occurred at the mid-reach location. The most commonly encountered species were Lonicera japonica Thunb. (Japanese honeysuckle), Impatiens capensis Meerb. (jewelweed), Fraxinus americana L. (American ash) and Sambucus nigra L. (elderberry). Seventeen species were collected at all eight locations while 103 species were recorded at only one location. No records of federally-listed threatened or endangered species were made, but observations were made for Platanthera flava (L.) Lindl. (the palegreen orchid) which is listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern in sixteen states. Our observations also included 45 species considered to be obligate inhabitants of wetlands, including Chelone glabra L. (white turtlehead). Two species [Carex pensylvanica Lam. and Lactuca biennis (Moench)] are potentially herein reported from the state for the first time. The upper reach of the Coldwater River is the only major hill land drainage in the Yazoo Basin which is unchannelized. Its richness of flora is reflective of its value as natural habitat.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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