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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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Blue Mountains Ecoregion

This ecoregion is distinguished from the neighboring Cascades and Northern Rockies ecoregions because the Blue Mountains are generally not as high and are considerably more open. Like the Cascades, but unlike the Northern Rockies, the region is mostly volcanic in origin. Only the few higher ranges, particularly the Wallowa and Elkhorn Mountains, consist of intrusive rocks that rise above the dissected lava surface of the region. Unlike the bulk of the Cascades and Northern Rockies, much of this ecoregion is grazed by cattle.
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Blue Mountains 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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Black greasewood

Black greasewood occupies considerable acreages on salty valley bottoms. This plant also occurs on salt-bearing shale outcrops in canyons and on foothills. Sites vary in respect to soil texture and availability of ground water. Some areas are wet with high water tables, and others are dry with welldrained soils. Black greasewood occurs in pure or mixed stands. Livestock can safely consume moderate amounts of greasewood when it is eaten in conjunction with other forage. Black greasewood is not known to be poisonous to game animals and, in fact, has some forage value.
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Mountain big sagebrush

Throughout the Intermountain West, mountain big sagebrush is found at elevations from 3,500 to 9,800 ft (1,060 to 3,000 m) and occurs from foothills to subalpine zones. Annual precipitation ranges from 12 to 30 inches (300 to 760 mm). Soils on which mountain big sagebrush grows range from slightly acid to slightly alkaline and are generally well drained. Soil moisture is usually favorable throughout the growing season. A large number of grass, forb, and shrub species grow in association with this shrub and usually produce an abundance of forage. Open stands with good, diverse understory are essential to sage-grouse and must be used in treatment projects to maintain sufficient shrub density and cover for sage-grouse. It is essential that desirable understory species and woody species associated with mountain big sagebrush be retained or reestablished as part of the revegetation effort.
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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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