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Canadian Rockies Ecoregion: Chapter 4 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

Professional Paper 1794-A-4

This publication is Chapter 3 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000, which is Volume A in Status and trends of land change in the United States--1973 to 2000, PP 1794. Volume A consists of 30 chapters. For access to other chapters, please visit PP 1794-A.
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Abstract

The Canadian Rockies Ecoregion covers approximately 18,494 km2 (7,141 mi2) in northwestern Montana (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The east side of the ecoregion is bordered by the Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion, which also forms a large part of the western border of the ecoregion. In addition, the Northern Rockies Ecoregion wraps around the ecoregion to the northwest and south (fig. 1). As the name implies, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are located mostly in Canada, straddling the border between Alberta and British Columbia. However, this ecoregion only includes the part of the northern Rocky Mountains that is in the United States. This ecoregion is characterized by steep, high-elevation mountain ranges similar to most of the rest of the Rocky Mountains. Compared to the Northern Rockies Ecoregion, however, the Canadian Rockies Ecoregion reaches higher elevations and contains a greater proportion of perennial snow and ice (Omernik, 1987) (fig. 2). Over the years, this section of the Rocky Mountains has garnered many different names, including “Crown of the Continent” by George Bird Grinnell (Waldt, 2008) and “Backbone of the World” by the Blackfeet (Pikuni) Nation. Throughout the ecoregion, montane, subalpine, and alpine ecosystems have distinct flora and fauna elevation zones. Glaciers, permanent snowfields, and seasonal snowpack are found at the highest elevations. Spring and summer runoff fills lakes and tarns that form the headwaters of numerous streams and rivers, including the Columbia and Missouri Rivers that flow west and east, respectively, from the Continental Divide.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Canadian Rockies Ecoregion: Chapter 4 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1794-A-4
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Western Geographic Science Center
Description:
Chapter 4: 8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
First page:
61
Last page:
68
Country:
United States
State:
Montana
Other Geospatial:
Glacier National Park;Canadian Rockies
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
Y