Oregon Conservation Strategy ecoregions provide information on each of Oregon’s nine ecoregions, which are portions of the state with similar climate and vegetation. Information is provided on the characteristics, conservation issues and priorities, limiting factors, recommended approaches, Strategy Species, and Strategy Habitats for each ecoregion. Press the map (thumbtack) icon at the top right corner of this page to see a map of the ecoregions, or visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Compass mapping application.
For the inland portion of the state, the Strategy uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Level III Ecoregions, but combines the Snake River Plain with the Northern Basin and Range. The Strategy designates the Nearshore ecoregion from the outer boundary of Oregon’s Territorial Sea at 3 nautical miles to the supratidal zone affected by wave spray and overwash at extreme high tides on our ocean shoreline, and up into the portions of estuaries where species depend on the saltwater that comes in from the ocean.
Located in NE Oregon, the Blue Mountains ecoregion is the largest ecoregion in the state. It provides a diverse complex of mountain ranges, valleys, and plateaus that extend beyond Oregon into the states of Idaho and Washington.
Oregon’s Coast Range, known for its dramatic scenery, is extremely diverse, with habitats ranging from open sandy dunes to lush forests and from tidepools to headwater streams. It follows the coastline and extends east through coastal forest to the border of the Willamette Valley and Klamath Mountains ecoregions
The Columbia Plateau ecoregion was shaped by cataclysmic floods and large deposits of wind-borne silt and sand earlier in its geological history. It is dominated by a rolling landscape of arid lowlands dissected by several important rivers, and extends from the eastern slopes of the Cascades Mountains, south and east from the Columbia River to the Blue Mountains.
The East Cascade ecoregion extends from the Cascade Mountains’ summit east to the warmer, drier high desert and down the length of the state. This ecoregion varies dramatically from its cool, moist border with the West Cascades ecoregion to its dry eastern border, where it meets sagebrush desert landscapes.
The Klamath Mountains ecoregion covers much of southwestern Oregon, including the Umpqua Mountains, Siskiyou Mountains, and interior valleys and foothills between these and the Cascade Range. The Rogue watershed has the largest population of any coastal watershed in Oregon (Jackson County, Josephine County, and a portion of Curry County). Several popular and scenic rivers run …
Northern Basin and Range
The Northern Basin and Range ecoregion covers the very large southeastern portion of the state, from Burns south to the Nevada border and from the Christmas Valley east to Idaho. It is largely a high elevation desert-like area dominated by sagebrush communities and habitats.
The West Cascades ecoregion extends from east of the Cascade Mountains summit to the foothills of the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Valleys, and spans the entire length of the state of Oregon. It is largely dominated by conifer forests, moving into alpine parklands and dwarf shrubs at higher elevations.
The Willamette Valley ecoregion is bounded on the west by the Coast Range and on the east by the Cascade Range. This long mostly level alluvial plain has some scattered areas of low basalt, and contrasts with productive farmland and large urban areas. It has the fastest-growing human population in the state resulting in challenges due to land-use changes.
The Nearshore ecoregion includes a variety of habitats ranging from submerged high-relief rocky reefs to broad expanses of intertidal mudflats in estuaries and hosts a vast array of fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, birds, plants, and micro-organisms. This ecoregion encompasses the area from the outer boundary of Oregon’s Territorial Sea to the supra-tidal zone, and up into the estuaries.