Posted by: columbiahighlands | February 15, 2011

Columbia (wet)lands

In the Inland Northwest, where water is at a premium, life revolves around its presence or absence. Small fluctuations in amount of water mean great differences in plant and animal life.

Halliday Fen, a unique marl fen. Photo: Eric Zamora.

Westside visitors to the Columbia Highlands may be surprised to find that this corner of the “dry side” of the state boasts a wide array of wetlands. Wetlands, which form when the water table is at or near the surface, are veritable oases for many rare birds, mammals and plants. The Columbia Highlands boast many unique and sensitive ponds, swamps, fens and bogs.

Interested in checking out the world of wetlands? Halliday Fen Research Natural Area, in the roadless areas adjacent to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, has been recognized and protected for its research value. Halliday Fen is a marl fen, which is a wetland that derives its water from limestone-based springs. The result is a highly alkiline environment that supports many unique communities of wetland sedges and grasses. Halliday Fen boasts 13 rare plant species, including water avens and yellow sedge. Halliday Fen is at the end of a difficult four-mile hike, but the payoff is a glimpse into a rare and fascinating wetland.



  1. I would like to see that one! Maybe some day…

  2. Lots of cool wetlands out here. You should definitely check them out!

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