In the MFWW, upland habitats include old growth conifer forests, high rocky openings and meadows, oak woodlands, ponderosa pine, aspen stands, and Alaska yellow cedar.
Upland habitats are home to countless plant and animal species and can be over-wintering habitat for many reptiles and amphibians who utilize riparian and aquatic habitats in the warmer months. Small natural clearings and rocky openings in upland areas provide unique habitats for uncommon or locally rare plant and animal species. Additionally, terrestrial habitats can be the headwaters of our streams and rivers, be a source of sediment and provide resources.
Notable wildlife species present include: great gray owl, flammulated owl, northern goshawk, harlequin duck, common merganser, black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers, American marten, fisher, Pacific western big-eared bat, red tree vole, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, northern spotted owl, elk, and mountain lion.
Hundreds of plant species are present, with >75 species that are sensitive, threatened or endangered.
Threatened and Endangered species include northern spotted owl, Bradshaw’s lomatium, gray wolf, and Willamette Valley daisy.
Distribution of upland habitat
Forest eco-types include alpine parklands and high elevation Pacific silver and mountain hemlock above approximately 4,000 feet in elevation and western hemlock, Douglas fir forests with mixed hardwoods in mid to lower elevations. Oak woodlands are found in the lowest elevations and along south facing slopes in uplands.
Threats to upland habitat in the MFWW
Invasive Plants: If left unchecked, many invasive plants have the potential to transform entire ecosystems by out-competing native species and, consequently, reducing wildlife habitat. Invasive plants are prevalent throughout the watershed, particularly below Dexter Dam. Weed species that have invaded habitats, include Armenian blackberry, Scotch’s broom, and false-brome.
Loss of Native Habitat and Communities: Upland habitats near population centers, particularly oak woodlands and prairies, have been impacted by agricultural and urban uses as well as invasive species and encroachment by conifers due to lack of fire. Logging has occurred throughout most of the watershed, with commercial forest lands managed on varying clearcut rotations making up a large part of the total acreage.
Council goals for upland habitat:
- Encourage a diversity of upland habitats including early, mid and late-seral stage conifer forests
- Promote oak savanna habitat, natural meadows, and prairies by encouraging the use of prescribed fire and thinning
- Enhance and restore wildlife habitat
MFWWC Projects involving upland habitat: