Soil salinity and vegetative cover were investigated at Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, Kansas in an effort to identify and document the plant species present on naturally occurring salt- and sodium-affected soil. Soil salinity (as indicated by electrical and sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) were measured from nine soil conductivity, ECe) samples collected to a depth of 20 cm in June 1998. Vegetative cover was visually estimated in June and September 1998. A total of 20 plant species were encountered at five soil sampling locations on soils classified as saline, saline-sodic, or sodic. Dominant species observed include Agropyron smithii, Distichlis spicata, Euphorbia geyeri, Poa arida, and Sporobolus airoides. While most species encountered during this study exhibited greater vegetative cover on non-saline soils, all of the dominant species, except A. smithii, exhibited greater cover on salt-affected soil compared to non-saline soil. Comparable salinity levels and species found in areas that have been degraded through oil and gas production activities suggest that the dominant species observed in this study deserve further attention as potential candidates for the restoration of salt-affected areas.
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Vol. 109 • No. 3