This dataset contains the data described in Looney and Eigenbrode's 2012 Natural Areas journal article (Characteristics and Distribution of Palouse Prairie Remnants: Implications for Conservation Planning), including potential Palouse remnants, a boundary for the study area, and a set of potential remnants that lay outside of the study area. While the potential remnants inside the area were reviewed based on limited ground-truthing described in the article, those outside the area were not. As such, there are likely potential remnants that are in fact re-colonized field margins or drainage ditches, or CRP-like plantings. Since the focus was primarily on eyebrows located in agricultural contexts, many of the river canyons (e.g. the Snake and Palouse) were not explored. Many grassland remnants are located in these areas, so users should be cautioned that this map likely under-represents the extent of Palouse prairie and canyon grasslands. Some extra information for certain patches is provided in the "Notes" field, including whether the remnant was visited (binocular-only visits are indicated as "w/binos"). The entries for JJL mean that this is a remnant that Juanita Lichthardt has surveyed.
Abstract from Looney and Eigenbrode 2012:
The Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington State and adjacent northern Idaho is an endangered ecosystem. Like other arable North American grasslands, the prairie was mostly converted to agriculture in the late 1800s, and native habitat is today highly fragmented within a matrix of production agriculture. Government and conservation groups are beginning conservation action in the region, but lack information regarding the number and nature of the prairie remnants. We used high-resolution aerial photography to identify potential prairie remnants in the southern half of the Palouse and describe their physical characteristics. We found that although there are many potential remnants, they tend to be small (most less than 2 ha) and have high perimeter-area ratios. Potential remnants are disproportionately found on rocky and shallow soils in the region, with only a few located on the deepest, most agriculturally valuable soil types. The remnants occur predominantly in a few large clusters near rivers and rocky buttes, and over half are within 150 m of the next nearest remnant. Almost all remnants are privately owned. The high number and clustered distribution of the remnants suggest a conservation strategy for the Palouse may be based on developing a network of small reserves. This may be best implemented at the county level through outreach efforts and partnerships with private landowners.