You are standing in the riparian area of McCartney Creek, within a meadow in Moses Coulee, part of the vast Columbia Basin shrub steppe ecosystem. The landscape you see was formed by a series of lava flows that laid down layer after layer of thick basalts. The coulee was carved by massive ice age floods – the largest floods known to science.
This landscape has been inhabited by humans for at least the last 10,000 years, tribes known today as the Wanapum, Yakima, Umatilla, and others. These meadows were homesteaded and farmed by a European American family, the McClures, beginning early in the last century. Agriculture and other human development have altered and fragmented much of the shrub steppe. Today, Moses Coulee and the Beezley Hills contain the largest, relatively intact shrub steppe landscape remaining in Washington State. The meadows were plowed and planted with crops and the stream channel was moved and straightened.
Explore the photos taken over time at McCartney Creek Meadow
to see how citizens are helping to generate scientific data.
"The Conservancy is working to restore a healthy riparian system at this 35-acre site that will provide habitat for a diverse array of native plants and animals and opportunities for community learning."
This project was made possible through support provided by the Washington Biodiversity Council (active 2004–2010).