NWSTF Boardman is located in the Snake-Columbia shrub steppe ecoregion, a vast, arid region of about 84,000 square miles extending from eastern Washington through southeast Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, northeast California and western Wyoming.
In the term shrub steppe ecoregion, “shrub” refers to the abundant woody plant species present at NWSTF Boardman, such as big sagebrush and rabbitbrush. “Steppe" is a Russian word that means a vast treeless plain.
In Oregon, much of the ecological integrity of the Snake-Columbia shrub steppe has been lost or degraded by conversion of land to irrigated agriculture and livestock grazing. This ecoregion is considered to be endangered from a conservation perspective.
NWSTF Boardman contains 11 habitat types, which support a variety of plant and animal species, including:
- Three species of snakes
- Three species of lizards
- More than 20 species of mammals
- More than 80 species of birds
NWSTF Boardman contains several species with high conservation concern, including:
- Northern sagebrush lizard
- Sage sparrow
- Ferruginous hawk
- Burrowing owl
Currently, there are no federally listed threatened or endangered species known to occur at NWSTF Boardman, but the installation is an important population center for the Washington ground squirrel, which has been listed as endangered by the state of Oregon.