Natural Resources

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Climate, geology, soils, plants, wildlife and other habitat elements combine to make the gorge rich in natural resources. Many significant natural areas occur in the gorge, ranging from old growth forests in the Multnomah Basin to bunchgrass prairies in the Columbia hills. The diverse climate fosters nearly 1,000 species of wildflowers, many of which are endemic to the Gorge region. The wildlife traveling in and out of the gorge, the long rivers originating many miles away with short scenic area reaches, the quality of air passing through our region – all these are resources to be protected in the scenic area. Yet the condition of all these things depends on many factors beyond our boundaries or control. For this reason, development of indicators gauging the condition of gorge natural resources is uniquely challenging and more difficult than most other topics. Indicators were created to measure the health of native plants and animals and their habitat, surface and ground water quality, and air quality.