Washington’s Biodiversity: Status and Threats

This report is a summary assessment of the status of, and threats to, the biodiversity of Washington State.

Washington has an exceptional diversity of environments, including the marine waters of Puget Sound and the outer coast, temperate rainforests, the subalpine parklands and meadows and alpine slopes of the Olympics and Cascades, the dry, open forests of the eastern flanks of the Cascades, the expansive shrub-steppe, the grasslands of the Palouse, the mighty Columbia River, and more. The diversity of these environments provides the foundation for the richness of our state’s biodiversity. Yet we cannot take the continued existence of our biodiversity for granted. The tremendous growth and development all around us, the increasing degree of conflict over land-use decisions among environmental, economic, and social values, and the growing list of species covered by the Endangered Species Act suggest that we are losing ground.