Sagelands Program

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.

In the arid lands of the Columbia Plateau we work with our chapter network and partners in the the Arid Lands Initiative to identify, connect, and protect the best remaining bird habitat. We manage local, hands-on efforts to:
  • Protect remaining critical sagebrush habitat
  • Close information gaps in our knowledge of focal bird species’ distribution and habitat needs
  • Build public-private partnerships in support of habitat connectivity and rangeland fire 
  • Influence land management in priority sagebrush lands 
  • Advance multi-benefit renewable energy siting​
 
Sagebrush Songbird Conservation
Working Lands

Sagebrush Songbird Conservation

Building off of our landmark Sagebrush Songbird Survey to protect birds in Washington's Sagebrush Steppe

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Fire in the Shrub-steppe
Working Lands

Fire in the Shrub-steppe

Towards fire resilience and landscape rehabilitation in Washington’s shrub-steppe

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Solar Energy: Siting it Right in the Columbia Plateau
Conservation

Solar Energy: Siting it Right in the Columbia Basin

A balanced approach to 100% clean electricity

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Priority Birds of Eastern Washington

Sagebrush Steppe News Feed

We Must Flip the Model on Clean Energy Siting in Washington State
Press Center

We Must Flip the Model on Clean Energy Siting in Washington State

Years-long controversy related to the Horse Heaven Wind Farm project demonstrates the need for a new model for meeting the state’s clean energy and biodiversity obligations.

Progress for Birds and Clean Energy
Press Center

Progress for Birds and Clean Energy

Audubon Washington Applauds Efforts to Safeguard Birds and Habitat as Part of Clean Energy Siting Decisions

Long-term Strategy for Shrub-steppe Landscape Restoration and Resilience
Press Center

Washington Shrubsteppe Restoration and Resiliency Initiative

Addressing wildlife habitat protection and restoration challenges while also supporting working lands and communities in the face of wildland fire

Championing Biodiversity
AuduBlog

Championing Biodiversity

Audubon Washington Helps Secure $23 Million for Conservation

Audubon Washington's Policy Priorities in 2024: Partnering for Protection
Press Center

2024 Legislative Priorities

Audubon is working with our partners to protect key climate policies, reduce pollution, and make important investments in conservation and clean energy.

Audubon Washington 2023 Impact Report
Coastal Estuaries

Audubon Washington 2023 Impact Report

Meeting the moment for birds and the planet

Finding Balance in a Changing Climate
AuduBlog

Finding Balance in a Changing Climate

Audubon Washington and eleven chapter affiliates advocate for protecting birds as Washington state seeks to better understand the environmental impacts of a 100% clean energy transition.

Chapter Spotlight: North Central Audubon Society Works to Maximize Bird Habitat Potential at Rock Island Ponds
AuduBlog

Chapter Spotlight: North Central Audubon Society Works to Maximize Bird Habitat Potential at Rock Island Ponds

Audubon-affiliated chapters don't shy away from conservation projects that take years or decades. North Central Washington Audubon's latest conservation goal is to see areas at Rock Island Ponds enhanced over the next decade or so to maximize their potential as nature reserves

By the Numbers: 2023 Legislative Session
AuduBlog

By the Numbers: 2023 Legislative Session

Here's what it took to pass bills for birds this year.

How you can help, right now