• Washington Has A New Long-Term Plan To Save The Shrubsteppe Ecosystem

  • Human Fingerprints Are All Over The Massive Decline In Shrubsteppe Habitat

OK, So What's The Shrubsteppe??

Stick your head out the window and take a look around. You're living in it. Hills, canyons, sagebrush, and grasses. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) defines it as: 


is an arid ecosystem found in Eastern Washington and other western states. As one of Washington’s most diverse ecosystems, shrubsteppe provides habitat for species found nowhere else in the state, such as the Greater Sage-Grouse, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Burrowing Owl.


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Why Does Washington Care?

Going, going, gone! The WDFW says that 80% of the shrubsteppe is already lost or degraded due to agriculture, irrigation, wildfires, invasive species, and other land-use conversions so protecting the remaining shrubsteppe habitat "is more important than ever."  Visitors to this area see the habitat features of streams, wetlands, rocky talus slopes, and canyons and they come to appreciate them and the wildlife they support perhaps more than those of us who live here.

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More Than 2 Years of Work Spent Creating The Plan

The 30-year plan established by the WDFW, Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC), and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) called the Washington Shrubsteppe Restoration and Resiliency Initiative (WSRRI) Long-term Strategy was presented to the State Legislature last week.

The aim is to protect wildlife and habitat while supporting working lands and communities across the shrubsteppe landscape, especially amid the increased threat of wildfires throughout Washington

In 2020, Wildfires ravaged over 600,000 acres of Washington's shrubsteppe.

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READ MORE: Conservation Controversy: Washington's Approach To Managing Gray Wolves

Watch this short video to gain a greater appreciation of the beauty, unique wildlife, and importance of Eastern Washington's one-of-a-kind shrubsteppe.

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