Biden-Harris Administration Announces More than $7 Million to Go Towards Sagebrush Restoration in Western States
As part of the $157 million from President Biden's Investing in America agenda to restore U.S. lands and waters, $7 million will go towards sagebrush restoration in the western states.
The Department of Interior cites a 2022 U.S Geological Survey report that claims an average of 1.3 million acres of sagebrush have been lost or degraded each year over the last 20 years.
The Sagebrush Keystone Initiative will partner with ranchers, state and local leaders, Tribal Nations, conservation and sportsmen organizations, the outdoor recreation economy, private landowners and others to address major threat to sagebrush habitat, including projects to restore wetlands, reduce tree encroachment, and control invasive species.
"Spanning over 175 million acres in the Western United States, sagebrush country contains biological, cultural and economic resources of national significance" said the U.S. Department of Interior in a press release today.
"Nature is our best ally in the fight against climate change and now, through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have new transformational resources to advance locally led, partnership driven projects that will catalyze nature-based solutions and build resilient communities and landscapes,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “At a time when tackling the climate and biodiversity crises could not be more critical, these investments in clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, cultural resources and open spaces will benefit people, wildlife and local economies for generations to come.”
The initiative will invest in reducing invasive annual grasses with herbicides, seeding, planting, and seasonal grazing.
It further aims to restore riparian and wet meadows, which are critical for wildlife like the sage grouse and serve as natural breaks against the spread of fire.
Sagebrush Collaborative Restoration Landscapes capture over a third of the remaining intact Core Sagebrush Areas across the sagebrush biome.
This landscape includes over 7.9 million acres of ‘Core Sagebrush’ and ‘Growth Opportunity’ Areas.
This landscape covers portions of southwest Wyoming and northeast Utah, anchored in the Upper Green River Basin and the Upper Bear River Watershed. The landscape also includes the high elevation Red Desert region of south-central Wyoming and intersects with the BLM’s Muddy Creek, La Barge, and Upper Bear River Restoration Landscapes.
Prisoners Growing Sagebrush
Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media