Level IV: (80e)High Desert Wetlands
The nearly level High Desert Wetlands ecoregion consists of high desert lakes and surrounding wetlands that provide critical habitat for nesting and migratory birds and associated upland birds and mammals.
Elevation varies from 4,000 to 5,200 feet (1,219 to 1,646 m). The fine-textured soils are poorly drained, and basins collect water seasonally. Although water levels fluctuate from year to year, lakes and wetlands in this region hold water more consistently than on the coarser, better drained soils of the Pluvial Lake Basins.
Sedges, rushes, black greasewood, tufted hairgrass, mat muhly, meadow barley, creeping wildrye, and Nevada bluegrass occur in wetter areas. Drier areas support basin big sagebrush, Wyoming big sagebrush, silver sagebrush, bluebunch wheatgrass, basin wildrye, Idaho fescue, Thurber’s needlegrass, and cheatgrass.
The region covers 1,651 square miles (4,276 km2) in Oregon, including the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and land surrounding Malheur Lake, Paulina Marsh, Summer Lake, Lake Abert, and the Warner Lakes. It also includes 105 square miles (272 km2) in Idaho and 56 square miles (145 km2) in Nevada, on and around the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.