Northern Columbia Plateau Basalt Pothole Ponds

This ecological system includes shallow freshwater water bodies found in small depressions gouged into basalt by Pleistocene floods. These are found throughout channeled scablands of the Columbia Plateau in Washington's eastern Columbia River Gorge. They typically occupy the bottom of a basalt cliff-lined (3 to more than 65 feet tall) circular or linear depression. Characteristic shoreline vegetation lining the aquatic environment is an emergent marsh that includes bulrush, cattail and rushes. Floating on the water may be pondweed and pond-lilies. Woody plants, including quaking aspen, coyote willow, black hawthorn or Woods' rose are adjacent to more northerly potholes. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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