West Coast USA Estuarine Biotic Habitat


These data represent the Biotic Component (BC) of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) for estuaries of the West Coast of the contiguous United States. The BC is organized into a branched hierarchy of five nested levels: biotic setting, biotic class, biotic subclass, biotic group, and biotic community. Classes and subclasses of the BC are determined by the dominant biota (defined as the most abundant in terms of percent cover) of the substrate.  Following the methods developed by the Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) – Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (https://www.coastalatlas.net/documents/cmecs/PhaseI/EPSM_CoreGISMethods.pdf), we cross-walked attributes from the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) and NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) into select classifications at various levels of the Biotic Component.  These classifications were applied to estuaries currently part of the Pacific Estuarine and Marine Fish Habitat Partnership’s (PMEP) inventory (n=444), within the “West Coast USA Current and Historical Estuary Extent” (PMEP) layer.  Data for the majority of estuaries in Oregon come directly from the Oregon Coastal Management Program’s (Oregon Department of Land Conservation) mapping effort.
Specifically, we classified the estuary extent into the following Biotic Component units (levels):
  • Benthic / Attached Biota (Biotic Setting)
    • Aquatic Vegetation Bed (Biotic Class)
      • Benthic Macroalgae (Biotic Subclass)
      • Aquatic Vascular Vegetation (Biotic Subclass)
        • Seagrass Bed (Biotic Group)
          • Eelgrass (Biotic Community)
    • Faunal Bed (Biotic Class)
    • Emergent Wetland (Biotic Class)
      • Emergent Tidal Marsh (Biotic Subclass)
        • Brackish Emergent Tidal Marsh (Biotic Group)
    • Scrub-Shrub Wetland (Biotic Class)
      • Tidal Scrub-Shrub Wetland (Biotic Subclass)
        • Brackish Tidal Scrub-Shrub Wetland (Biotic Group)
    • Forested Wetland (Biotic Class)
      • Tidal Forest/Woodland (Biotic Subclass)
        • Brackish Tidal Forest/Woodland (Biotic Group)
  • Unclassified (N/A)

For full documentation of CMECS, see https://coast.noaa.gov/data/digitalcoast/pdf/cmecs.pdf.

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