“Where’s the pygmy rabbit?” Call for volunteers to survey and support recovery efforts

Help us protect fragile sagelands before it’s too late

More than 80 percent of Washington’s sagelands have already been lost. Help us protect this fragile ecosystem before it’s too late by making a donation or renewing your membership! By Mitch Friedman, Executive Director The beauty of shrub-steppe may be more subtle than our majestic Northwest forests, but once you get up close, you realize … Continued

Sagelands habitat restoration in the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area

Fence removal efforts in central Washington near Ellensburg support the seasonal movements of migratory shrub-steppe species. By Keiko Betcher, Communications and Outreach Associate For large mammals such as elk and mule deer, and for other sagelands species like burrowing owls and sage-grouse, fences are often a dead end—especially old, unneeded, barbed-wire fences. Some species, like … Continued

Sagelands wildfires, wildlife, recovery and resilience

Editor’s Note: Living and working in Omak in north-central Washington, Jay Kehne is no stranger to wildfires, and sadly, this is not the first time that he’s watched large fires burn around his community, or sheltered human and animal refugees at his home. We’re grateful to have Jay’s knowledge, generosity and decades of experience in … Continued

New maps show agricultural barriers to wildlife connectivity in our Sagelands Heritage Program

Two maps of cropland throughout Washington’s Sagelands show how constricted this area is for wildlife moving through the landscape. By Keiko Betcher, Communications and Outreach Associate Washington’s arid shrub-steppe has a subtle beauty home to dozens of delicate species, some found nowhere else in the state. While mule deer and elk frequently move through this … Continued

Enhancing public access in central Washington’s shrub-steppe

With partners and volunteers, this year we installed a new informational kiosk, graded gravel parking area and improved road signage in the Quilomene Wildlife Area near Ellensburg. By Jay Kehne, Sagelands Program Lead Along the western edge of the Columbia River just east of Ellensburg, the Quilomene Wildlife Area offers boundless views of ridges dotted … Continued

Soldiers and sagebrush; a trip to the Yakima Training Center

A military training ground between Ellensburg and Yakima contains some of the best shrub-steppe habitat in the state. BY Jay Kehne, Sagelands Program Lead and Rose Piccinini, Sagelands Contractor In central Washington lies a vast landscape with some of the most prime shrub-steppe habitat in the state. Its northern border is drawn by I-90, to … Continued

Sagelands Heritage Program Story Map

Check out our new interactive story map of our Sagelands Heritage Program. Zoom in and out, pan around, and search for specific locations! Our Sagelands Heritage Program (SHP) works to maintain, restore and connect shrub-steppe landscapes from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley to south-central Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills for the good of both wildlife and people. … Continued

Working with tribes, agencies, ranchers and farmers to restore wetlands in Washington’s shrub-steppe

How 30 people and 30 tons of rock can improve critical habitat for wildlife in north-central Washington. By keiko betcher, communications and outreach associate Recently, our Sagelands Program Lead Jay Kehne helped lead a three-day wetlands restoration workshop in north-central Washington’s shrub-steppe. The event brought together multiple state, federal, tribal and local partners for a … Continued

Connecting First Foods and conservation

We’re collaborating with Indigenous partners and seeking out opportunities to learn about the role of First Foods in our work. by Keiko Betcher, communications and outreach Associate As you’re walking through an old-growth forest or a hillside dotted with sagebrush, you might count dozens of different plants and animals along the way. And for the … Continued