The Owyhee Uplands cover the southeast corner of Idaho and extend slightly into Nevada. This is a rugged landscape of sagebrush plateaus incised by deep river canyons. This is considered an ecologically significant area with the Columbia River Basin. Two recently completed landscape-scale scientific assessments identified this area as one of the largest blocks of intact shrub steppe habitat within the entire Basin. The Owyhee Uplands are also home to the largest population of California bighorn sheep in the United States and more than a dozen endemic or rare plant species.

Ornithological Summary

Green-tailed Towhee, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Brewer?s Sparrow, Gray Flycatcher (Sensitive Species), and Greater Sage Grouse (Sensitive Species) all can be found in the Owyhee Uplands, along with many more. Mountain Bluebirds nest throughout the uplands in large numbers. In close proximity to this site the following birds have been observed and are on Idaho?s Sensitive Species List: Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Lewis? Woodpeckers, Loggerhead Shrike, Dusky Flycatche

Conservation Issues

Invasive species, particularly cheatgrass, are a major problem in the Owyhee Uplands. This problem has been exacerbated by recent drought and wildfires. Overgrazing by livestock is also a serious problem affecting the area. The Nature Conservancy is diligently working to build collaborations with federal and state agencies in Idaho to improve ecological conditions, and combat these issues.


Sagebrush and Juniper dominate the Owyhee Uplands.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.