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NSN seed logoIf data is available, this is where you find Ecoregion Descriptions, Plant Communities of that ecoregion, and Species Lists/Recommendations for both.  If you know the community types at your project site, use community recommendations as the species will be more appropriate and more specifically geared to your site.  
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Columbia Plateau Ecoregion

The Columbia Plateau is an arid sagebrush steppe and grassland, surrounded on all sides by moister, predominantly forested, mountainous ecological regions. This region is underlain by basalt up to two miles thick. It is covered in some places by loess soils that have been extensively cultivated for wheat, particularly in the eastern portions of the region where precipitation amounts are greater.
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Columbia Plateau Plant Communities


In the Intermountain area, there are over 20 million acres (8.1 million ha) of aspen scattered from upper foothill ranges to mountaintops and high plateaus. The majority of the aspen occurs at middle elevations and span a broad range of environmental conditions. Annual precipitation within the Intermountain aspen zone ranges from 16 to 40 inches (400 to 1,000 mm). Aspen can be found growing in association with tall forbs, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, spruce-fir, mountain brush, open parks of mountain big sagebrush, snowberry and chokecherry, and on the margin of grasslands. Aspen trees are found along moist streams as well as on dry ridges and southerly exposures, on talus slopes, and in deep to shallow soils of various origins.
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Basin big sagebrush

Within the Intermountain West, basin big sagebrush can be found from 3,000 to 7,000 ft (914 to 2,140 m) elevation, with annual precipitation ranging from 9 to 16 inches (23 to 41 cm). A majority of the irrigated farmlands, dry farms, and dryland pastures within the Intermountain West were once dominated by basin big sagebrush.
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Inland saltgrass

Inland saltgrass has gained control on many dry to semiwet meadows in upland and lowland areas where alkalinity is appreciable and where the early growing grasses, sedges, forbs, and shrubs have been depleted by grazing. Soils are generally heavy with high water tables at least during some period of the year. Some areas may have standing or running water for short periods. While these meadows are relatively small, they usually have a much higher potential for livestock forage production and as wildlife habitat than when dominated by saltgrass. Improvements may benefit wildlife and allow for grazing at different and longer seasons, but revegetation projects should be carefully evaluated before treatments begin.
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Palouse Prairie

Grasslands and meadow-steppe vegetation dominated by grasses are the prototypical vegetation of the Palouse. Woodlands and forests occur in the eastern portion of the Section on hills and low mountains. The relatively arid western portion of the Section is dominated by grassland, where bluebunch wheatgrass and Idaho fescue are the most prominent. Meadow-steppe vegetation characterized by Idaho fescue and common snowberry dominates areas with more precipitation, but still too dry to support forest vegetation on deep loamy soils.
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Ponderosa pine

In the Intermountain West, ponderosa pine occurs at approximately the same elevation and on sites with the same annual precipitation as does the mountain brush type. Mountain brush types are found on heavier soils than ponderosa pine, which prefers well-drained, coarser textured soils, with soil pH close to neutral, and more summer precipitation.
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Riparian sites often occur as narrow corridors traversing many different plant zones. Streams and drainages often occupy very small but important sites within major land types. The vegetation and habitat provided by the riparian zone is extremely important to the management of associated lands. Riparian sites usually attract and sustain livestock and wildlife. These sites are particularly important during the midsummer months. Riparian communities often provide diversity to otherwise rather barren and exposed wildlands.
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Sage Grouse Species

This list includes plants that have been identified by the BLM as priority species for improving sage grouse habitat.
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Shadscale saltbush

Shadscale-saltbush communities dominate broad valley bottoms and adjacent foothills where they merge with big sagebrush and juniper-pinyon. Shadscale is the most common and abundant shrub of the salt desert shrubland. Shadscale is found in heavy soils; on highly alkaline soils, shadscale occurs in nearly pure stands. Annual precipitation on these areas is generally less than 10 inches (250 mm), with many areas receiving from 3 to 8 inches (80 to 200 mm). Shadscale exists as nearly pure stands with large open spaces among plants in valley bottoms. On higher slopes it exists in fairly complex mixtures with other low shrubs and some grasses.
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Subalpine herblands and aspen openings are usually very productive and important sites. They provide forage and cover, serve as important watersheds, and provide recreation opportunities. Successful rehabilitation can markedly increase the value of these ranges for wildlife, livestock, and watershed protection. Some subalpine areas are relatively small, but they can be very productive. These areas are important summer ranges for sheep and cattle, mule deer, elk, moose, bear, and several species of grouse. Elevation of subalpine herblands varies between 7,000 and 12,000 ft (2,150 and 3,600 m). Most sites occur above 7,800 ft (2,400 m). Because these high elevation areas receive 20 to 60 inches (500 to 1,500 mm) of precipitation annually, they are important watersheds. Within the subalpine communities of the Intermountain West, common grasses include Letterman needlegrass, slender wheatgrass, mountain brome, and spike trisetum. Some important forbs are Louisiana sage, western yarrow, penstemons, geraniums, ligusticum, asters, lupine, and bluebell. Principal shrubs include currants, snowberry, low rabbitbrush, and subalpine big sagebrush. Widespread tree species are Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and aspen. Soils can be shallow and rocky; however, deep fertile soils are most common.
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Wet and semiwet meadows

Wet and semiwet freshwater meadows can be found in lowland valleys, but are more frequently encountered on mountain rangelands where water concentrates and spreads. While the total area occupied by wet and semiwet meadows is relatively small, these meadows are important to grazing animals and upland game birds. They produce succulent herbage throughout the growing season for all classes of game and livestock. Many meadows have been seriously depleted of valuable sedges, rushes, grasses, forbs, and shrubs that once were abundant.
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Wyoming big sagebrush

This subspecies can be found throughout the Intermountain West on xeric sites, foothills, valleys, and mesas between 2,500 and 7,000 ft (760 and 2,100 m). Annual precipitation varies from 7 to 15 inches (180 to 280 mm). Soils on which Wyoming big sagebrush occurs are usually well drained, gravelly to stony, and may have low water-holding capacity. Soils are shallow, usually less than about 18 inches (46 cm) deep. Fewer herbaceous species are associated with Wyoming big sagebrush than with basin or mountain big sagebrush. Native bunchgrasses are often important understory species in Wyoming big sagebrush communities.
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