Idaho Ecoregions- Northern Basin & Range

NORTHERN BASIN & RANGE: Utah Border – Rupert

Location: This region is arid, gently sloping, drier and less suitable for agriculture than the Columbia Plateau or the Snake River Plain. The light-colored soils are often high in salt and alkali content. Primary land use is grazing.

Climate: The ecoregion is arid, with mid-latitude steppe and mid-latitude desert climates marked by hot summers and cold winters.

Vegetation: Non-mountain areas have sagebrush steppe vegetation and some cool season grasses. Mountain big sagebrush, Wyoming big sagebrush, low sagebrush, bluebunch wheatgrass, rabbitbrush, Idaho fescue, Thurber needlegrass are dominant species with some scattered juniper. Ranges are generally covered in mountain sagebrush, mountain-mahogany, juniper, and Idaho fescue at lower and mid-elevations; Douglas fir and aspen are common at higher elevations.

Hydrology: Mostly ephemeral and intermittent streams flow here, with some perennial streams at higher elevations fed by snowmelt or springs. Larger rivers include the Owyhee. Some scattered lakes and ephemeral pools are found, along with internally drained basins and playa lakes.

Terrain: The region contains tablelands, intermontane basins, dissected lava plains, scattered north-south trending mountains, and valleys with long, gently sloping alluvial fans. Elevations range from about 800 masl in deep canyons to over 3,000 masl on highest mountain peaks. Tertiary volcanic rocks are common, with some Paleozoic sedimentary rocks exposed in some mountains. Aridisols and Mollisols are common, with mesic and frigid soil temperature regimes and xeric and aridic soil moisture regimes.

Wildlife: Prominent species include mule deer, pronghorn, and coyotes. A waterfowl migration route crosses the region and is used by tundra swans, lesser snow geese, American widgeons, pintail, canvasback, and ruddy ducks, sandhill cranes, white pelican, golden eagle, gray flycatcher, northern sage sparrow. There are endemic desert fish species in basin lakes and springs.

Land Use/Human Activities: Ranching and livestock grazing is common and dryland and irrigated agriculture occur in eastern basins. Other land uses include recreation and wildlife habitat. Population is low and settlements are few. Larger towns includes Soda Springs.

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-CREDITS-
Ecoregion Facts:
Commission for Environmental Cooperation; North American Terrestrial Ecoregions—Level III; April 2011.
Location:
Photos taken in October 2013 along highways-
I-15
Original Photography:
88x31Just Another Nature Enthusiast Photography by Jane Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


4 comments

  1. Spectacular photographs, Jane….thanks for the opportunity to travel there vicariously 🙂

    Since I am new to following your blog, the photographs I am familiar with (so far) are of your stunning photos of nature’s creatures and your macro photography. It is inspiring to see your landscape photography too, and I look forward to making my way through your blog posts and photos. 🙂 and seeing more of these grand vistas!

    I think we have some similar terrain in parts of California.

    Like

    1. How fun to see you are traveling through the eco-regions! The photos were taken during a six state loop from Portland to Phoenix and home again via Utah north and west again. Remember the government shut down? We were on the road then, and were SO happy when the Utah governor opened the National Parks… Zion was stunning. I was in the midst of studies for certification as an Oregon Master Naturalist. That is how the look at the landscapes came to be related to the eco-region maps. It was a fun challenge as the passenger-photographer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow, good for you for going through the Oregon Master Naturalist program, how long did it take?

        I do remember the government shut down especially because there were some pissed off tourists who could not go to some of the parks. They planned their vacations around going to some of the National Parks , and some ended up pouring into state parks here like at Point Lobos in Carmel. Can you imagine if you were coming from Europe or Asia to the US, and there is a government shutdown…

        I now realize your blog name is an acronym of your name! Clever, JANE 🙂

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        1. That was a maddening and embarrassing episode- there is no denying that. I imagine many travelers were impacted by the parks closures. We have friends who live in Philadelphia who went to Yellowstone for vacation; they chose humor to deal with their frustration and sent out travel photos of them standing at the locked gates…
          ——-
          The naturalist program took two semesters. The first portion was online learning, followed by a series of in the field studies.An excellent experience!
          ——-
          Thank you for noticing the acronym… I found my new calling, and it was in my name all these year! Go figure 😉

          Like

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