Identifying and protecting Washington's shrub-steppe ecosystem
Photo: Dave Showalter
The sagebrush steppe is an iconic habitat of the western United States, a seemingly vast and open landscape described by some as the “sagebrush sea.” Here in Washington State, approximately 10.5 million acres of the Columbia Plateau ecoregion were once covered by sagebrush and native grasses. Today, these arid lands have largely been converted to agricultural fields and fragmented by residential and urban development, resulting in over 50% loss of our historic sagebrush habitat.
The remaining sagebrush areas are under threat from climate change, development pressure, increased fire frequency, incompatible grazing practices, and invasive species.
Through community science and advocacy, landowner outreach, collaborative partnerships and policy initiatives, Audubon Washington and our local chapters are building on our record of conservation action to support local economies and secure the future for sagebrush bird species and the habitat they rely on.