The Palouse Prairie lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains and stretches through much of eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and northwestern Idaho. Of the estimated more than 12 million acres of original habitat, less than 1% remains, much of which is highly fragmented in very small patches.
Heavy agriculture, beginning in the late 1800’s, allowed for economic growth throughout the region while converting much of the prairie to dryland farming. The sudden population growth in the region combined with the proliferation of railroads to create many culturally rich agricultural communities, several of which are still thriving today.
The sudden change throughout the Palouse Prairie ecosystem allowed for many exotic species such as cheatgrass to take the place of the native bunchgrass, shrub, and forb mix prevalent throughout the region. The expansion of these invasive species complicates restoration efforts, as they directly compete with native species.
Native Palouse species are beneficial to the region for many reasons. Their robust root structures allow for deeper penetration of surface water into the deep soils of the region. Palouse prairie habitat is vital to healthy populations of regional game species. And photography of the Palouse region drives tourism dollars into local communities throughout the year.
We are proud to be partnering with local communities, educational institutions such as Washington State University and the University of Idaho, and other nonprofit as well as government agencies that are doing incredible work to restore this amazing ecosystem.