Wildlife & Habitat


Water in a desert means life, and the Monument doesn't disappoint. A multitude of habitats leads to a multitude of wildlife species.

  • Wildlife

    Cottontail Rabbit

    Although it appears barren—especially to those from more temperate climates—the Hanford Reach National Monument supports hundreds of animal species that have adapted to its dry environment. The shrub-steppe ecosystem supports an unusually high diversity of native plant and animal species, including significant breeding populations of nearly all steppe and shrub-steppe dependent wildlife.

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  • Birds

    Black-crowned Night Heron

    Starting a "Big Year," or just looking to add to your life list? The Monument is a great place to start.

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  • Mammals

    Townsend's Ground Squirrel

    The Monument has it's share of the cute and the cuddly, from the ever-alert Townsend's ground squirrel here to skinny-dipping porcupines. Okay, porcupines aren't cuddly, but they are cute.

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  • Fish

    Black Crappie

    If you're thinking Hanford, and you're thinking "Blinky," the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons, you're thinking wrong. The Hanford Reach of the Columbia River supports a varied, important, and much-sought-after fishery.

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  • Invertebrates


    Within the scientific community, the Hanford Site, including the Monument is famous for its creepy crawlies. Don't make us bug you to find out why.

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  • Rare Species

    Pygmy Rabbit

    Sometimes sequestration is a good thing. Seven decades of it has left the Monument as a bulwark against the tides of extinction.

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  • Habitats

    Western Meadowlark

    The Hanford Reach National Monument is located within the driest and hottest portion of the Columbia Basin and is part of the Columbia Basin Ecoregion, an area that historically included over 14.8 million acres (6 million hectares) of steppe and shrub-steppe vegetation across most of central and southeastern Washington State, as well as portions of north-central Oregon.

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  • Shrub-Steppe

    Shrub-Steppe Habitat

    The Monument is dominated by two habitats, the Columbia River and shrub-steppe. It's the extremes between the two that make the Monument special—the massive volume of water in the Columbia and the surrounding arid lands.

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  • Sagebrush-Obligate Species

    Sage Sparrow

    See the little guy at the left, the sage sparrow? Just as his name implies, he needs sagebrush to survive. So do many other species. The Monument is an island of sagebrush surrounded by development, and like island ecology all over the world, extinction is an ever-present threat.

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  • Invasive Species (Weeds)


    Without a doubt, the biggest threat to the Monument are invasive plant species—weeds.

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