||Approximately eight river miles of the Cacapon River were surveyed in 2002 to determine the extent and diversity of native grasses. Native grasses proved to be the predominant vegetative component in all of the riparian areas surveyed, with Andropogon gerardii, big
bluestem, and Tripsacum dactyloides, eastern gamagrass, comprising approximately 90% of the total population. Andropogon gerardii was visually estimated to compose 70% and Tripsacum dactyloides 20% of the total stand population. Other species identified were Panicum virgatum, switchgrass; Elymus virginicus, Virginia wild rye; Elymus riparius, riverbank wild rye; Schizachyrium scoparium, little bluestem; Chasmanthium latifolium, Indian wood oats; Chasmanthium laxum, slender wood oats; Hystrix patula, bottlebrush grass; Spartina pectinata, prairie cordgrass; and Sorghastrum nutans, indiangrass. By visual estimates, these species did not compose more than 10% of the total population. Native grass communities within the survey
area are extensive, diverse, and stable. With additional rigorous evaluation, the germplasm of one or more species from the Cacapon River may prove to be locally and/or regionally important ecotypes. Additional study of the native species from the Cacapon River is warranted.