Ammophila breviligulata ssp. champlainensis (Seymour) P.J. Walker, C.A. Paris & Barrington ex Barkworth
||Stephen M. Young
Family: Grass Family (Poaceae)
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Did you know?
Champlain beachgrass originated from coastal populations that migrated westward along the shores of the Champlain Sea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that filled the basins of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain after the retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet about 10,000-11,500 years ago. Our plants were isolated from coastal populations as the land rebounded and cut off the Champlain Sea from the Atlantic Ocean.
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Based on the current circumscription, there is an estimate of six known populations. Most of these are threatened at some level by the introduction of the Cape strain (Ammophila breviligulata). This introduced strain is more aggressive and may genetically swamp the true native population. There are also numerous development and recreational activities that may threaten these populations.
The number of populations is stable and no more populations are expected. Within the Great Lakes, populations of the more vigorous Cape strain (Ammophila breviligulata) are probably outcompeting and reducing numbers of the true native Champlain strain but the speed of this reduction is not known.
Development at the Plattsburgh population and along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines has substantially reduced numbers of plants from historical levels by cutting off natural dune formation and by introducing Cape strain (Ammophila breviligulata) that has outcompeted the native dune grass.