The Last Grassland​


The Boardman Grasslands and Shrub-steppe, in north-central Oregon, contain the best remaining examples of native communities within the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion, an area that historically included over 20 million acres of grassland and shrub-steppe vegetation across most of central and southeastern Washington, north-central Oregon, and portions of Idaho.
 
Eighty-five percent of the Boardman Grasslands are privately owned and close to half of all acres have been converted to agriculture. The Nature Conservancy focuses on conserving and restoring over 23,000 acres centered on the Boardman Conservation Area near Boardman, Oregon.
 
The Boardman Grasslands provide important habitat for burrowing owls and are home to one of the largest nesting populations of long-billed curlews in the Pacific Northwest. The grasslands also protect the largest remaining intact habitat in Oregon for the state-endangered Washington ground squirrel. 
 
Since European settlement, the Boardman Grasslands and Shrub-steppe communities have undergone substantial change. Continued intensive livestock grazing, conversion to agriculture, invasion by noxious non-native weeds, and altered fire regimes threaten all remaining habitat. As a result, these communities are considered globally imperiled ecosystems.
 
The Nature Conservancy is working to restore these native grasslands by reducing the impact of invasive species, promoting native bunchgrasses and sagebrush, and returning fires to historic patterns. TNC also collaborates with local landowners and government agencies to ensure continued protection of the rare and threatened species that need the Boardman Grasslands to survive. You can access recent wildlife monitoring reports here.