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Vegetation communities at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

April 9, 2011

New and existing data were used to describe and map vegetation communities at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Existing data had been gathered during the growing seasons of 2002, 2003, and 2004. New data were collected in 2007 to describe previously unsampled communities and communities within which insufficient data had been collected. Plot data and field observations were used to describe 17 natural and semi-natural communities at the Association level of the National Vegetation Classification System (NVCS). Four ruderal communities not included in the NVCS are also described. Data were used to inform delineation of communities using aerial photos from 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007. During this process, eleven additional land cover classes including cultural features, managed vegetation communities, and water features were identified. These features were mapped, some were described, but no vegetation data were collected. In 2009, nearly all community polygons were field visited and classified to the Association level. When necessary, polygon boundaries were adjusted based on field observations. The final map includes 482 polygons of 27 land cover classes encompassing 3,174 hectares on 5 units of the refuge. Data and information will inform the development of the refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.