Flora and fauna
Most of the Rogue River watershed is in the
Klamath Mountains ecoregion designated by the EPA, although part of the upper basin is in the
Cascades ecoregion, and part of the lower basin is in the
Coast Range ecoregion.
Temperate coniferous forests dominate much of the basin. The upper basin, in the High Cascades and Western Cascades, is in places "identified as containing extremely high species richness within many groups of plants and animals". Common tree species in the forests along the upper Rogue include
white fir, and
Shasta red fir.
Jeffrey pine is among tree species that thrive in serpentine soils.
Further downstream a diverse mix of
deciduous trees and shrubs grow in parts of the basin. In more populated areas, orchards, cropland, and pastureland have largely replaced the original vegetation, although remnants of
oak savanna, prairie vegetation, and seasonal ponds survive at
Table Rocks north of Medford. Oak woodlands, grassland
ponderosa pine, and
Douglas-fir thrive in the relatively dry foothills east of Medford; areas in the foothills of the Illinois Valley support Douglas-fir,
madrone, and incense cedar. Parts of the Illinois River watershed have sparse vegetation including
Jeffrey pine and oak and
ceanothus species that grow in serpentine soils.
 The Klamath-Siskiyou region of northern California and southwestern Oregon, including parts of the southwestern Rogue basin, is among the four most diverse temperate coniferous forests in the world. Considered one of the global centers of
biodiversity, it contains about 3,500 different plant species. The Klamath-Siskiyou region is one of seven
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) areas of global botanical significance in North America and has been proposed as a
World Heritage Site and
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The lower Rogue passes through the
Southern Oregon Coast Range, where forests include Douglas-fir,
Port Orford cedar, and
western redcedar, and at lower elevations
 Coastal forests extending from
British Columbia in the north to Oregon (and the Rogue) in the south are "some of the most productive in the world". The coastal region, where it has not been altered by humans, abounds with ferns,
lichens, mosses, and herbs, as well as conifers.
The Rogue River contains "extremely high-quality salmonid habitat and has one of the finest salmonid fisheries in the west. However, most stocks are less abundant than they were historically... ".
Salmonids found in the Rogue River downstream of Lost Creek Lake include
Coho salmon, spring and fall
Chinook salmon, and summer and winter
steelhead. Other native species of freshwater fish found in the watershed include
coastal cutthroat trout,
white sturgeon, Klamath smallscale
speckled dace, prickly
sculpin, and riffle sculpin. Nonnative species include
smallmouth bass, black
American shad, Umpqua
pikeminnow, and species of trout. Coho salmon in the watershed belong to an
Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) that was listed by the
National Marine Fisheries Service as a
threatened species in 1997 and reaffirmed as threatened in 2005. The state of Oregon in 2005 listed Rogue spring Chinook salmon as potentially at risk.
Trees and shrubs growing in the
riparian zones along the Rogue River include
black cottonwood, and
Oregon ash. A few of the common animal and bird species seen along the river are
American black bear,
North American river otter,
great blue heron,
water ouzel, and