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The Palouse is a region of hi peopleEastern Washington, North Central Idaho, and, in some definitions, extending south into northeast Oregon. It is a major wheat-producing agricultural area. Situated near the Oregon Trail, the region experienced rapid growth in the late 19th century, for a brief time surpassing the population of the Puget Sound region of Washington.[1] Eastern Washington is a region of the United States defined as that part of Washington east of the Cascade Mountains. ... North Central Idaho is an area of Idaho which spans the central part of the state and borders Oregon, Montana, and Washington. ... Official language(s) None Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ... The Ox Team or the Old Oregon Trail 1852-1906 by Ezra Meeker. ... Puget Sound Puget Sound (pronounced IPA ) is a sound connected to the Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. ...

The Palouse, Eastern Washington, looking southeast from Kamiak Butte


Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1524x865, 1272 KB) The Palouse region of Eastern Washington, looking southeast from Kamiak Butte State Park. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1524x865, 1272 KB) The Palouse region of Eastern Washington, looking southeast from Kamiak Butte State Park. ...

Geography and History

Traditionally, the Palouse region was defined as the fertile hills and prairies north of the Snake River, which separated it from Walla Walla Country, and north of the Clearwater River, which separated it from the Camas Prairie, extending north along the Washington and Idaho border, south of Spokane, centered on the Palouse River. This region underwent a settlement and wheat-growing boom during the 1880s, part of a larger process of growing wheat in southeast Washington, originally pioneered in the Walla Walla Country south of the Snake River.[2] Perrine Bridge spanning the Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho The Snake River is a river in the western part of the United States. ... The Clearwater River is a river in northern Idaho, the North Fork of which flows from the Idaho-Montana border westward to join the Snake River at Lewiston. ... The name Camas Prairie refers to several distinct geographical areas in the Western United States which were named for the native perennial Camassia or camas. ... Nickname: The Lilac City Location of Spokane in Spokane County and Washington Coordinates: Country United States State Washington County Spokane Government  - Mayor Dennis P. Hession Area  - City  58. ... A river that runs from Northwest Idaho to the Snake River in southest Washington. ... Walla Walla County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. ...

While this definition of the Palouse remains common today, sometimes the term is used to refer to the entire wheat-growing region, including the Walla Walla Country, the Camas Prairie of Idaho, the Big Bend region of the central Columbia River Plateau, and other smaller agricultural districts such as Asotin County, Washington and Umatilla County, Oregon. This larger definition is used by organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature, who define the Palouse Grasslands ecoregion very broadly.[3] The Columbia River Plateau is shown in green on this map. ... Asotin County is a county located in the state of Washington. ... Umatilla County is a county located in the state of Oregon. ... The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization for the conservation, research and restoration of the natural environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in the United States and Canada. ... An ecoregion, sometimes called a bioregion, is a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. ...

Nevertheless, the traditional definition of the Palouse region is distinct from the older Walla Walla region south of the Snake River, where dryland farming of wheat was first proved viable in the region in the 1860s. During the 1870s the Walla Walla region was rapidly converted to farmland, while the intial experiments in growing wheat began in the Palouse region, which previously had been the domain of cattle and sheep ranching. When those trials proved more than successful, a minor land rush quickly filled the Palouse region with farmers during the 1880s. The simultaneous proliferation of railroads only increased the rapid settlement of the Palouse. By 1890 nearly all the Palouse lands had been taken up and converted to wheat farming.[4] Dryland farming is an agricultural technique for cultivating land which receives little rainfall. ...

Unlike the Walla Walla Country, which was solidly anchored on the city of Walla Walla, the Palouse region saw the rise of at least four centers, all within several miles of each other: Colfax, Washington, the oldest, Palouse, Washington, Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho. These four centers, along with at least ten lesser ones, resulted in a diffused urban pattern, relative to the Walla Walla country.[5] Walla Walla is both the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, USA, and the countys largest city. ... Colfax is a city in Whitman County, Washington, United States. ... Palouse is a city located in Whitman County, Washington. ... Pullman is a city in Whitman County, Washington, United States. ... Moscow (pronounced Moss-co) is the county seat of Latah CountyGR6 in northern Idaho, along the Washington/Idaho border. ...

Cities along the borders of the Palouse, in some definitions included within the Palouse region, include Lewiston, Idaho, serving the Camas Prairie farmlands, Ritzville, Washington, serving the eastern edge of the Big Bend Country, and Spokane, the major urban hub of the entire region. So dominate was Spokane's position, it became known as the capital of the Inland Empire, including all the wheat producing regions, the local mining districts, lumber producing forests. Spokane also served as the main railroad and transportation hub of the entire region. Lewiston is the county seat and largest city in Nez Perce County, Idaho. ... Ritzville is a city located in Adams County, Washington. ... The Inland Empire is a region in the Pacific Northwest centered around Spokane, Washington, including much of the surrounding Columbia River basin. ...

By 1910, although local terms like Palouse, Walla Walla Country, Big Bend, Umatilla Country, and Camas Prairie, continued to be common, many people began of the region began to regard themselves as living in the Inland Empire, the Wheat Belt, the Columbia Basin, or simply Eastern Washington, Oregon, or Northern Idaho.[6]


The peculiar and picturesque silt dunes which characterize the Palouse Prairie were formed during the ice ages (Alt and Hyndman 1989). Blown in from the glacial outwash plains to the west and south, the Palouse hills consist of more or less random humps and hollows. The steepest slopes, which may reach 50% slope, face the northeast. The highly productive loess ranges from 5 to 130 cm deep (Williams 1991). Large areas of level land are rare. Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ...

Higher elevations bordering the prairies such as the Palouse Range support an often dense coniferous forest.


Farming was extremely labor-intensive and still relied heavily on human and horse-power. An organized harvesting/threshing team in the 1920's required 120 men and 320 mules and horses (Williams 1991). Teams moved from farm to farm as the crops ripened. By this point, the combine had been invented and was in use, but few farmers had enough horses to pull such a machine, which required a crew of 40 horses and six men to operate on level ground. Because of this, use of combines on the Palouse lagged behind use in other farming communities in the United States. Farming, ploughing rice paddy, in Indonesia Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and other desired products by cultivation of certain plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock). ... A postage stamp of a combine honors Russian agriculture. ...

It was only when the Idaho Harvester Company in Moscow, Idaho began to manufacture a smaller machine that combine harvesting became feasible. By 1930, 90% of all Palouse wheat was harvested using combines (Williams 1991). Moscow (pronounced Moss-co) is the county seat of Latah CountyGR6 in northern Idaho, along the Washington/Idaho border. ...

The next step in mechanization was development of the tractor. As with the combines, the first steam engine and gasoline-powered tractors were too heavy and awkward for use on the steep Palouse hills. The smaller, general use tractors introduced in the 1920s were only marginally used. As late a result, by 1930, only 20% of Palouse farmers used tractors (Williams 1991).


Once an extensive prairie composed of mid-length perennial grasses such as bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum) and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), today virtually all of the Palouse Prairie is planted in agricultural crops. The native prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States (Noss et al. 1995), as only a little over one percent of the original prairie still exists. Extracting wheatgrass juice with a manual juicing machine. ... Species See text Fescue (Festuca) is a genus of about 300 species of tufted grasses, belonging to the grass family Poaceae. ...

People have taken their toll on wildlife. Once abundant birds and small mammals are few. The intensive roadbed-to-roadbed farming practiced today across the Palouse leaves few fences and fewer fencerows. Many once intermittent streams are farmed; many perennial streams with large wet meadows adjacent to them are now intermittent or deeply incised.

Riparian areas offer breeding habitat for a greater diversity of birds than any other habitat in the U.S. (Ratti and Scott 1991). Loss of trees and shrubs along stream corridors means fewer birds and eventually fewer species. The majority of riparian areas have been lost across the bioregion. A riparian zone schematic from the Everglades. ... “Aves” redirects here. ...

Lately, conversion of agricultural lands to suburban homesites on large plots invites a new suite of biodiversity onto the Palouse Prairie. University of Idaho wildlife professor J. Ratti has documented changes in bird community composition over the past 10 years as he converted a wheat field into a suburban wildlife refuge. His 40 mile square yard now attracts 86 species of birds, an increase from 18. The University of Idaho is the states most prominent land-grant and primary research university, located in the city of Moscow in Latah County. ...

Intensification of agriculture has affected both water quantity and quality. Agriculture has changed the bydrograph, increasing peak runoff flows and shortening the length of runoff. The result is more intense erosion and loss of perennial prairie streams. As early as the 1930s soil scientists were noting significant downcutting of regional rivers (Victor 1935) and expansion of channel width. Higher faster runoff caused streams to downcut quickly, effectively lowering the water table in immediately adjacent meadows. On the South Palouse River, this process was so efficient that by 1900 farming was possible where it had been too wet previously (Victor 1935). Replacement of perennial grasses with annual crops resulted in more overland flow and less infiltration, which translates at a watershed level to higher peak flows that subside more quickly than in the past. Once perennial prairie streams are now often dry by mid-summer. This has undoubtedly influenced the amphibious and aquatic species. The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Erosional downcutting by the San Juan River in Utah. ...

As population grew, towns and cities appeared changing the complexion of the area. By 1910, there were 22,000 people scattered in 30 communities across the Palouse Prairie.

Crop production increased dramatically (200 - 400%) after the introduction of fertilizer following World War II. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Since 1900, 94% of the grasslands and 97% of the wetlands in the Palouse ecoregion have been converted to crop, hay, or pasture lands. Approximately 63% of the lands in forest cover in 1900 are still forested, 9% are grass, and 7% are regenerating forestlands or shrublands. The remaining 21% of previously forested lands have been converted to agriculture or urban areas.

A farm in Whitman County, Washington

The impacts of domestic grazers on the grasslands of the Palouse and Camas Prairies was transitory because much of the areas were rapidly converted to agriculture. However, the canyonlands of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers and their tributaries with their much shallower soils, steep topography, and hotter, drier climate, were largely unsuitable for crop production and were consequently used for a much longer period by grazing domestic animals (Tisdale 1986). There, intense grazing and other disturbances have resulted in irreversible changes with the native grasses largely replaced by annual grasses of the genus Bromus and noxious weeds, particularly from the genus Centaurea. The highly competitive plants of both of these genera evolved under similar climatic regimes in Eurasia and were introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s. A farm in Whitman County, Washington From http://www. ... A farm in Whitman County, Washington From http://www. ... Perrine Bridge spanning the Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho The Snake River is a river in the western part of the United States. ... For the river in New Zealand, see Clearwater River, New Zealand For the river in Alberta, Canada, see Clearwater River, Alberta For the river in Saskatchewan, Canada, see Clearwater River, Saskatchewan The Clearwater River is a river in northern Idaho that flows from the Idaho-Montana border westward to join... Species See text Bromus is a large genus of the grass family Poaceae with about 160 species. ... Species Around 350-500 species; see text Centaurea is a genus of about 350-500 species of herbaceous thistles and thistle-like flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, mostly native to the Old World. ...


While there is some debate over how frequently the Palouse prairie burned historically, there is consensus that fires are generally less frequent today than in the past, primarily due to fire suppression, construction of roads (which serve as barriers to fire spread) and conversion of grass and forests to cropland (Morgan et al. 1996). Historians recount lightning-ignited fires burning in the pine fringes bordering the prairies in late autumn, but the extent to which forest fires spread into the prairie or the converse is not known. Some fire ecologists believe the Nez Perce burned the Palouse and Camus Prairies to encourage growth of Camas (Morgan, pers. Comm); but there is little historical record to solve the mystery. European-American settlers used fire to clear land for settlement and grazing until the 1930s. Since then, forest fires have become less common. One result has been increasing tree density on forested lands and encroachment of shrubs and trees into previously open areas. Consequently, when fires occur in the forest, they are more likely to result in mixed severity or stand replacing events. A forest fire Fire is a rapid oxidation process that creates light, heat, and smoke, and varies in intensity. ... The Nez Perce (pronounced ) are a tribe of Native Americans who live in the Pacific Northwest region (Columbia River Plateau) of the United States. ... Species See text Camassia is a genus that historically used to belong to the lily family (Liliaceae), the Scilloideae family, or the Hyacinthinaceae family. ...


Binomial name Driloleirus americanus Smith, 1897 The giant Palouse earthworm or Washington giant earthworm (Driloleirus americanus, meaning lily-like worm[2]) is a species of earthworm belonging to the genus Driloleirus found in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington state as well as parts of Idaho in the United States. ... lily is the best name in the whole wide world. ... Washington State University (WSU) is a major public research university in Pullman, Washington. ... Pullman is a city in Whitman County, Washington, United States. ... Martin Stadium is the primary field of Washington State Universitys Cougar football team. ... Beasley Coliseum is a 12,058-seat multi-purpose arena in Pullman, Washington. ... The University of Idaho is the states most prominent land-grant and primary research university, located in the city of Moscow in Latah County. ... Regional Theatre of the Palouse (RTOP) is an established non-profit theater company based in Pullman, Washington. ... Lens culinaris. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Toys is a 1992 surreal black comedy film directed by Barry Levinson // Spoiler warning: Kenneth Zevo (Donald OConnor) had made of himself a surrealistic toy empire, that he, his two children, Leslie (Robin Williams) and Alsatia (Joan Cusack), and the factory employees were more than happy to live and...

See also

The Spokane-Coeur dAlene-Paloos War (also known as the Coeur dAlene War, and the second phase of the Yakima War) was a series of encounters between the Coeur d’Alenes, Spokanes, Palouses and Northern Paiute tribes and US forces in the Washington and Idaho areas during 1858. ... The Palus tribe is one of twelve aboriginal tribes enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. ... An Appaloosa horse The Appaloosa is a horse breed with a color preference. ...


  1. ^ Meining, pg. 248. The 1880 census recorded 3,588 people living in Walla Walla and 3,533 in Seattle.
  2. ^ Meinig, p. 467.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Meinig, pg. 510.
  5. ^ Meinig, pg. 333.
  6. ^ Meinig, pg. 406.


  • Chapter 10: Additional Figures - Biodiversity and Land-use History of the Palouse Bioregion: Pre-European to Present - Sisk, T.D., editor. 1998. Perspectives on the land-use history of North America: a context for understanding our changing environment. U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Biological Science Report USGS/BRD/BSR 1998-0003 (Revised September 1999).
  • Alt, D.D., and W. D. Hyndman. 1989. Roadside geology of Idaho. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Id. 403 pp.
  • Meinig, D.W. 1968. The Great Columbia Plains: A Historical Geography, 1805-1910. University of Seattle Press, Seattle (Revised 1995). ISBN 0-295-97485-0.
  • Morgan, P., S.C. Bunting, A.E. Black, T. Merrill, and S. Barrett. 1996. Fire regimes in the Interior Columbia River Basin: past and present. Final Report, RJVA-INT-94913. Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Missoula, Mont.
  • Noss, R.F., E.T. LaRoe III, and J.M. Scott. 1995. Endangered ecosystems of the United States: a preliminary assessment of loss and degradation. U.S. National Biological Service. Biological Report 28.
  • Ratti, J.T., and J.M. Scott. 1991. Agricultural impacts on wildlife: problem review and restoration needs. The Environmental Professional 13:263-274.
  • Tisdale, E.W. 1986. Canyon grasslands and associated shrublands of west-central Idaho and adjacent areas. Bulletin No. 40. Forestry, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, University of Idaho, Moscow.
  • Victor, E. 1935. Some effects of cultivation upon stream history and upon the topography of the Palouse region. Northwest Science 9(3):18-19.
  • Williams, K.R. 1991. Hills of gold: a history of wheat production technologies in the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho. Ph.D. dissertation, Washington State University, Pullman.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Palouse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1395 words)
The Palouse is a region covering approximately 10,000 square miles of land in northwestern Idaho and southeastern Washington.
The Palouse region encompasses the rolling, fertile hills of the Palouse prairie, as well as the more southerly Camas Prairie and the forested hills and canyonlands of the area's rivers.
The Palouse Prairie lies at the eastern edge of the Palouse region, north of the Clearwater River.
Palouse Falls (1640 words)
Palouse Falls, with a height of 198 feet, is the only one that remains today and is most spectacular in the spring and early summer.
The park is 83 acres with 8,750 feet of freshwater shore-line on the Palouse River.
The Palouse Indians were the first inhabitants to settle in the area; 400 Indian graves were uncovered and removed to a new location when the area was inundated.
  More results at FactBites »



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