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Deschutes Basin Habitats and Vegetation

Habitat is the place where a plant or animal species naturally lives and grows. A description of habitat includes characteristics of the soil, water, and biologic community (i.e., other plants and animals). They are based on the way different wildlife species see the landscape. Smaller species often see the landscape at different scales than a larger or more mobile creature. A habitat for a sea anemone may be a single tide pool. For a wolf pack it may cover thousands of acres of forests, grasslands and mountains. Also, some species are habitat generalists, occurring in many different types of places. The common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) occurs in coastal headlands, valley prairies, forest meadows, and openings high in the mountains. Others, such as the Larch Mountain salamander have narrow habitat requirements, restricted to low elevation, wooded, talus slopes.

The Deschutes Basin offers two main areas of interest, wetlands and riparian habitats and upland habitat.

Wetlands and Riparian habitats include wetlands, bogs, marshes, and streamside forests. Restoring wetland and riparian habitats remains a primary goal of the Deschutes Basin watershed councils, natural resources-related organizations and agencies.

The word "uplands" is used to describe the higher-elevation areas between river and stream valleys. These areas tend to have drier soils than surrounding lowland, or valley bottom areas.


Winch, Martin. 2006. Biography of a Place: Passages through a Central Oregon Meadow. Deschutes County Historical Society, Bend, Oregon. Photographs, maps, notes, bibliography, index. 294 pages.

Northwest Power and Conservation Council Deschutes Subbasin Plan Appendix II: Environmental Conditions - Overview of the Deschutes basin including wetlands and riparian areas.

Northwest Power and Conservation Council Deschutes Subbasin Plan, Appendix III - Wildlife Assessment. Analysis of changes in habitat distribution in the Deschutes Basin and discussion of issues surrounding key wildlife species including sage grouse.

Authored by Jimmy Kagan, Director, Oregon Biodiversity Information Center.