Latest On The Conservation Gateway

A well-managed and operational Conservation Gateway is in our future! Marketing, Conservation, and Science have partnered on a plan to rebuild the Gateway into the organization’s enterprise content management system (AEM), with a planned launch of a minimal viable product in late 2024. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, reach out to for more info!

​​​​The Grasslands

Bunchgrass prairie, wildflowers and wind-sculpted sagebrush dunes once stretched across the plains of north-central Oregon, from The Dalles in the west past Pendleton in the east and south from the Columbia River into the foothills of the Blue Mountains. These grasslands were part of the broader Columbia Plateau Ecoregion, a vast area including much of eastern Washington and parts of Idaho.

Though in places the ruts of the Oregon Trail are still clearly visible, barely half of the Columbia Basin grasslands remains. Much of our remnant grasslands are overgrazed, invaded by noxious weeds, scorched by uncharacteristic wildfires, and under threat from development and conversion to agriculture. The Nature Conservancy is working to preserve and restore native grasslands for the benefit of wildlife and people alike. Read on to learn about the places we protect.

Where We Work

Three TNC preserves are open to the public and offer opportunities to experience Oregon’s grasslands throughout the year. In early spring, the Columbia Basin Grasslands come alive with brilliant wildflower displays including the famous lupines and balsamroot at Tom McCall Preserve. In summer, as the grasslands dry, wildlife are pulled to the seeps and springs that emerge from cracks in the basalt bedrock, like the type found at  Lawrence Memorial Grasslands Preserve. Finally, as fall gives way to winter, light snows on these vast landscapes offer peace and reflection, as at Lindsay Prairie Preserve.

The focus of TNC’s science in the region centers on the Boardman Grasslands, a distinct community close to the Columbia River and largely converted to agriculture. TNC works to preserve and restore almost 70,000 acres of intact grassland and sagebrush steppe, the largest tract remaining. The Boardman Grasslands provide refuge for wildlife, including pronghorn and elk, ferruginous hawks and sagebrush sparrows, and the state-endangered Washington ground squirrel.  At Boardman, TNC is implementing grassland restoration. To date, hundreds of acres have been restored with native bunchgrass, sagebrush, and wildflowers.