The Rocky Mountain and specifically the Sagebrush ecosystems are experiencing widespread degradation due to a variety of causes and are now some of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States. Audubon is working to reverse this process.
Sagebrush ecosystems occur in the cold deserts of the Western United States. These deserts are found in the Intermountain region which lies between the Pacific Coast mountain ranges and the Rocky Mountains. The climate of the region is arid to semi-arid and is characterized by long and cold winters and hot and dry summers. Most precipitation falls in winter as snow. Temperatures generally increase from north to south, while the amount of precipitation falling as summer rain increases from west to east. High topographic variability strongly influences local climate and weather patterns.
Small mammals such as pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) and sagebrush voles (Lemmiscus curtatus), reptiles including the sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus) birds of prey such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis), and game species such as pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and elk (Cervus canadensis) all rely on sagesteppe habitat. While the diversity of wildlife in sage-steppe ecosystems may be less than other ecotypes such as forests, many species found in sagebrush, such as the Greater sagegrouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) live nowhere else in the world.