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Shrubs, grasses planted through federal program crucial for sage grouse survival in Eastern Washington

A new study by University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, state and federal researchers analyzed sage grouse in Eastern Washington and showed a surprisingly large benefit from a federal program that subsidizes farmers to plant year-round grasses and native shrubs instead of crops. Although the program was adopted for many different reasons, the study finds it is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington’s Columbia Basin.

“Without these lands, our models predict that we would lose about two thirds of the species’ habitat, and that the sage grouse would go extinct in two of three subpopulations,” said first author Andrew Shirk, a research scientist with the UW’s Climate Impacts Group. 

Read more at UW Today
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