Riparian and aquatic natural communities, that are only now beginning to be classified, represent along with their resident species another aspect of diversity that is yet be fully realized.

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These plant communities are representative of the incredible biological diversity present in the ecoregion.

Over 20% of these plant associations (105 plant community associations) are considered vulnerable by Heritage Programs in the ecoregion.

Throughout much of the rest of the ecoregion ranching is the dominant industry.

Small family ranches mixed in with larger corporate ranches dot vast areas of the Basin & Range country and the Owyhee Uplands.

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Industrial development is limited mostly to Boise and the Tri Cities of Washington.

One of the largest employers in the ecoregion is the federal government which is tied to its prominent land ownership.

Irrigated agriculture is the most significant economic force in the ecoregion with crops ranging from potatoes and peas to wheat and alfalfa.

Agriculture is prominent throughout the Snake River Plains of Idaho and the Columbia Basin which dominates portions of three states: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

The sagebrush steppe ecosystem supports huge herds of pronghorn that still have seasonal migrations and numerous species of birds of prey nest here at higher densities than anywhere else on earth.