Habitats of Baskett Slough

Habitat Variety on Baskett Butte

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of different habitat types to support the flora and fauna that live there. To learn more about how we manage these habitats, see our Habitat Management page. 

  • Seasonal Wetland

    Seasonal Wetland

    The majority of Baskett Slough NWR's wetland habitat is seasonal. These are wetlands flooded by precipitation in the cool seasons and are then dried up by the summer heat. Most of the Refuge seasonal wetlands, however, are managed using a combination of dikes, spillways and water control structures. Using the water control structures, Refuge managers can release water collected and retained during the winter. This seasonality reflects the bird usage of the wetlands which numbers in the thousands during the winter, and drops down to mere hundreds in the spring and summer.

  • Permanent Wetland

    Permanent Wetland

    Approximately 61 of Baskett Slough's 597 wetland acres are permanent. These permanent wetland areas provide space for nesting waterfowl to raise their young, homes for western pond turtle and red-legged frog, and hunting grounds for osprey during the summer.

  • Wet Prairie

    Wet Prairie

    Wet prairies are characterized by shallow ponding of water on the prairie floor up to 6" deep throughout the winter and early spring. They are known for their mounded topography which forms low points that flood seasonally and create a unique environment to support a broad diversity of plant species. Once the most widespread habitat type on the Willamette Valley floor, intact historic wet prairie land today numbers less than 1% of its original area. 

  • Upland Savanna

    Upland Savanna

    The oak savanna is characterized by widely spaced Oregon white oak trees with upland prairie in between. These open spaces support native prairie grasses such as Roemer's fescue and prairie junegrass as well as wildflowers like camas, lupine and cat's ear lily. Once a widely spread habitat type in the Willamette Valley, less than 1% of the pre-Euroamerican settlement upland savanna remains due to the suppression of fire which historically maintained the open spaces and prevented invasive woody vegetation from establishing itself. The oak savannas of the Willamette Valley also provide vital habitat for the endangered Fender's blue butterfly and other threatened and endangered species.

  • Oak Woodland

    Oak Woodland

    Identified as a priority for protection and restoration, the oak woodlands provide habitat for Species of Concern such as the western bluebird, acorn woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch and several species of bat. The oak woodland differs from oak savanna as it contains more oak trees per acre, and the understory is generally shrub-dominated rather than herbaceous. The greatest threat to this habitat is the encroachment of fast-growing Douglas-fir and other coniferous trees. Restoration of these woodlands focus on Douglas-fir removal utilizing helicopter-logging to avoid damage to the reserve oak trees. The Douglas-fir logs removed have been used by conservation partners for in-stream habitat or donated to local schools and charities.

  • Mixed Forest

    Mixed Forest

    A result of Douglas-fir encroachment on oak woodland habitat, mixed forest stands generally support shade-tolerant species that can survive under the fir canopy. Big-leaf maple makes up much of the deciduous canopy and the understory is occupied by beaked hazelnut, snowberry, vine-maple and sword fern. This habitat is frequented by larger mammals such as black-tail deer, elk, and black bear; as well as birds preferring dense forest habitat and old-growth snags such as the pileated woodpecker and Swainson's thrush.

  • Agricultural Fields

    Refuge Ag Fields

    Representing the largest swath of land on the refuge, the agricultural crops grown on the refuge land provide essential fodder for wintering Canada geese. All of these agricultural fields on Baskett Slough NWR are managed cooperatively with local farmers, thus benefiting both the refuge management goals as well as the community.