Earth Day 2021: Oregon's Ecoregions

In honor of Earth Day, we’re highlighting each of Oregon’s nine ecoregions, along with the notable species that inhabit them.

Outline of Oregon state, with multicolor segments filled in designating 9 different ecoregions.
An ecological region, or ecoregion, is a large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. [Image: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife]

Blue Mountains

Starting off strong, the Blue Mountains ecoregion is the largest in Oregon. It stretches from Enterprise to Bend, as well as extending east into Idaho and North into Washington. This ecoregion is named for its largest mountain range, but contains an array of landscapes, including complex mountain ranges, glacial gorges, rock-walled canyons, sagebrush steppe, and juniper woodlands. Animals like wolverines, white-headed woodpeckers, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are among those that call this region home!

Coast Range

Like you’d guess from the name, the Coast Range extends along the entirety of Oregon’s coast and into the coastal forests that border it. Because of the mild, moist climate, this ecoregion is home to many highly productive temperate rainforests. It’s also home to important estuarine ecosystems, which provide habitat for many different species. (Estuaries are the tidal mouths where saltwater and freshwater systems meet, making them semi-saline.) The Coast Range is home to animals like the Northern spotted owl, Peregrine falcon, and coastal tailed frog.