Washington Title Image Large
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Endemic Ecosystems

Many of the ecoregions that occur in Washington are wide ranging, extending up and down the Rocky Mountains, along the coast, or into the intermountain basin.  Others, like the North Cascades or the Columbia Basin only extend into surrounding states or provinces.  Still others are much more limited in their distribution.

These unique areas include the Olympic Mountains in the northwestern part of the state, the Palouse grasslands and Channeled Scablands in the southeast, and the Columbia River Gorge to the south.

Imperiled Ecosystems in Washington

  • Columbia River Gorge

    Environmental conditions and vegetation change dramatically as one travels up the Columbia River Gorge. Conifer forests are replaced by woodlands and then shrub-steppe.

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  • Channeled Scablands and Potholes

    The channeled scablands of southeastern Washington consist of low, grassy mounds interspersed amongst rocky areas with little vegetation. Depressions fill with moisture during the winter and dry out completely during the hot, dry summers.

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