Sagebrush Sea Campaign Overview

New York Times Urges Protection for the Sagebrush Sea

The Sagebrush Sea covers more than 100 million acres of the American West, making it one of the most extensive landscapes in North America. The heart of the Sagebrush Sea is shaped by the Columbia River Basin, the Great Basin, the Wyoming Basin and the Colorado Plateau.

The Sagebrush Sea is a landscape of dramatic contrasts and subtlety. While to some the dry, rocky hillsides and apparently endless bluffs of sage, juniper, piñon, mountain mahogany, and bitterbrush appear monotonous and "barren," they team with wildflowers, aromatic and flowering shrubs, birds and a great variety of other animals. The Sagebrush Sea is expansive country — "open space" prized by so many Americans. The horizon extends for 360 degrees and the sky arches over cedar, mustard-yellow and sea-green slopes. Pronghorn race across huge grassy basins and bighorn sheep balance on steep cliff sides. The landscape features lakes, rivers, streams, springs and wetlands, hot springs, salt flats, dunes, volcanic rock formations and mountain ranges.

Despite its size, sagebrush steppe "is one of the most endangered [landscapes] in North America." The Sagebrush Sea has been been reduced by almost half since European settlement. Livestock grazing, logging, agricultural conversion, oil and gas development, roads, fences, powerlines and pipelines, off-road vehicles, mining, urban sprawl, unnatural fire, and invasive species are destroying and degrading what remains.

The Sagebrush Sea Campaign and partners are working to ensure that more Americans come to know and appreciate the least-known landscape in North America. Conservation organizations are working to protect sagebrush steppe as wilderness; list imperiled Sagebrush Sea species under the Endangered Species Act; prevent irresponsible oil and gas development on public lands; restrict off-road vehicle use to designated routes; and promote voluntary grazing permit buyout as an equitable solution to inappropriate public lands livestock grazing.

The Sagebrush Sea Campaign focuses public attention and conservation resources on protecting and restoring the vast sagebrush-steppe landscape in the American West. The campaign participates in public lands management planning, advocates for natural resource protection, and uses education, research, legislation and litigation to conserve and restore the Sagebrush Sea for present and future generations. The Sagebrush Sea Campaign is a project of WildEarth Guardians.

The Sagebrush Sea Campaign is grateful for past and current support from the following foundations and corporations.