Posted by: columbiahighlands | July 22, 2010

Bunchgrass Meadows – A Pend Oreille County Gem

Bunchgrass Meadows is a unique and sensitive refuge for flora and fauna, in the heart of Harvey Creek Roadless Area south of Sullivan Lake. In recognition of its ecological and scientific value, the U.S. Forest Service designated Bunchgrass Meadows as a Research Natural Area (RNA) in 2008.

The centerpiece of Bunchgrass Meadows RNA is a rare high-elevation sphagnum bog, a highly acidic wetland dominated by sphagnum moss. Over one-hundred thirty plant species have been documented at Bunchgrass Meadows, including white bog-orchid, western swamp laurel and almost twenty species of sedges.

Alpine ponds on either end of the sphagnum bog form the headwaters of Harvey Creek, which has been designated habitat for recovery of the endangered bull trout.

Owing to its varied and unique habitats, from dense, mid-elevation forests of western redcedar, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, hemlock, and lodgepole pine to rocky cirques and alpine ponds, Bunchgrass Meadows RNA is a magnet for wildlife. The only population of northern bog lemmings in the region reside on the mossy hummocks, and the endangered grizzly bear and mountain caribou find refuge here. Bunchgrass Meadows is one of only two locations in the U.S. that hosts the Whitehouse’s emerald dragonfly. Even more rare is the delicate emerald; Bunchgrass Meadows is the only site in the U.S. where this dragonfly has been documented.

The combination of waterways and rich upland forests provides prime habitat for  such as the American three-toed woodpecker, chestnut-backed and boreal chickadees, golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets, hermit and varied thrushes, Townsend’s warbler, white-winged crossbill, pine grosbeak and great gray and boreal owls.

Interested in exploring this special place? On Saturday, Aug. 7, join the Washington Native Plant Society and Conservation Northwest for a guide field trip through Bunchgrass Meadows, led by Lawton Fox, an experienced guide with WNPS and a professor of botany and biology.

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  1. […] the headwaters of Harvey Creek, Bunchgrass Meadows Research Natural Area protects a rare high-elevation sphagnum bog that is home to a host of wildlife, including the only […]


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