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Douglas County Natural Resources

Douglas County is located close to the geographical center of Washington state. It lies on the northern edge of the Columbia Basin in the shelter of the Cascade Mountains to the west. It is bordered on the north and west by the Columbia River and on the east by Banks Lake and Sun Lakes. Douglas County has approximately 155 river miles of shoreline along the Columbia River. The topography ranges from lowland areas along the Columbia River corridor to a high point on Badger Mountain with an approximate elevation of 4,100 feet. It is for the most part a mildly rolling plateau with a vegetative cover of shrub-steppe and dryland agriculture.

Banks Lake

Banks Lake
Looking North

Turtle Rock

Columbia River
at Turtle Rock

Moses Coulee

Columbia River
at Moses Coulee

Rocky Butte

Columbia River
at Rocky Butte


Besides being surrounded by water, the County has several streams and lakes that provide a range of recreational opportunities. There are two major drainage basins that handle the surface water runoff for the County, both of which deposit directly into the Columbia River. The Foster Creek drainage basin covers the northern portion of the County and outlets near Chief Joseph Dam at Bridgeport. The Moses Coulee drainage is much larger and drains the majority of the County, with its mouth seven miles south of Rock Island.

Douglas County has several species of endangered or threatened salmonid fish, in the Columbia River, and numerous threatened, endangered, or sensitive terrestrial species of wildlife, such as pygmy rabbit and sage grouse. Due to the concern for these species and the any potential effects to the citizens within the region, Douglas County is involved with or leads several natural resource initiatives. Some of the current activities include:

Douglas County Watershed Planning Association- Foster Creek/Moses Coulee Watershed (WRIA44/50) Planning- Foster Creek Conservation District leads

Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board participation

Sub-basin Planning for the Upper Middle Mainstem Columbia River, a Northwest Power and Conservation Council process

Comprehensive Land Use Planning- critical areas elements