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Central Puget Lowland

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About the Central Puget Lowland

The Central Puget Lowland is a large, relatively flat region towards the center of the Puget Lowlands / Georgia Depression. It contains Seattle and surrounding areas, but also extends quite far to the west, into less-populated regions.

This region consists of rolling glacial drift plains, interspersed with lakes, small, winding streams, and features an irregular coastline with numerous bays and peninsulas, and some islands. The coastline is marked by cliffs in many places. The soils here tend to be gravely, well-drained, and poor at holding moisture and accumulating organic matter. Elevation ranges from 0 to 1,000 feet, with local relief ranging from 200 to 1,000 feet.

This area was originally covered with coniferous forest, with dominant trees of western hemlock, western red cedar, and Douglas-fir, with some red alder and bigleaf maple.

The eastern portion of this region contains the Seattle metropolitan area, and numerous smaller cities, and is heavily urbanized, with significant industry and suburbanization. The larger portion of this region, however, west of Puget Sound, is more sparsely populated, and is mostly covered in Douglas-fir/Western hemlock forests. There is significant forestry, a small amount of agriculture, and some rural residential development.

There is very little protected public land in this region, in spite of the abundance of protected land in surrounding regions and the high portion of forest cover here. The Olympic National Forest barely includes a small portion along the border of this region, and there are some small parks and preserves throughout the region.

This region is bordered to the east by the Eastern Puget Uplands, except along rivers, where it is bordered by the Eastern Puget Riverine Lowlands. To the north, separated by bodies of water, this region is bordered by the Olympic Rainshadow region; the border here is somewhat subjective, and the northernmost portions of this region experience some rain shadow. To the south, this region borders the Southern Puget Prairies. The western border is with various portions of the Coast Range; in most places it is bordered by the Volcanics, but the westernmost portion is bordered to the west by the Outwash region and to the south by the Willapa Hills.

References

1. Pater, D.E., Bryce, S.A., Thorson, T.D., Kagan, J., Chappell, C., Omernik, J.M. "Ecoregions of Western Washington and Oregon (Poster)", U.S. Dept., of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (0000) Web.