2/15/21 | From The Spokesman-Review~~
At one point, there were 10.4 million acres of shrub-steppe in Eastern Washington, but when European settlers arrived they cleared much of that historic range for farming and ranching. An estimated 20% of the original 10.4 million acres remain.
Driving by at 60 mph, Washington’s eastern desert looks like little more than a dry blur.
But if you stop and look, there is a smorgasbord of life between the Cascades and Spokane: wildflowers, golden eagles, mule deer, burrowing owls, too many grasses to count and, of course, shrubs.
All told, more than 200 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and numerous species of reptiles, amphibians and insects live in and depend on Washington’s shrub-steppe habitat.
“When you put yourself down at the level of that landscape, you are going to see a forest, it’s just going to be a different type of forest,” Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research scientist Michael Schroeder said in a video released by the agency this week.
The 12-minute video highlights the beauty and complexity of Washington’s shrub-steppe habitat, a landscape often overlooked for the dramatic peaks and deep valleys of the Cascades. (Read or play video “This Land Is Part Of Us”)