The sagebrush steppe has long epitomized the American West. Providing some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in North America, this unique habitat is also home to scores of plants and animals, including world class populations of sage grouse, mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope. Once covering vast stretches of western North America, the sagebrush ecosystem has experienced tremendous pressures over the past century due to energy development, housing development, poor grazing practices and changing plant communities, among others. Today less than half of the formerly rich sagebrush landscape remains.
Recognizing the importance of the Greater Sage-Grouse as a keystone species and indicator of overall sagebrush ecosystem health, the Foundation has been a long time supporter of the National Audubon Society’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative (SEI). SEI engages industry, government, community leaders, ranchers, conservationists, and other stakeholders to protect this remarkable ecosystem. SEI strives to find and implement balanced solutions that enable the nation to meet its energy and population needs while also ensuring that wildlife and wild places can still thrive.
Yellowstone Lake and its surrounding waters have been home to the world’s largest concentration of wild, genetically pure cutthroat trout for over 10,000 years. However, illegally introduced lake trout, first discovered in Yellowstone Lake in 1994, have decimated this critical species. In less than two decades, lake trout have eaten and displaced over 95% of the lake’s four million cutthroats and impacted not only a long-standing fishing tradition enjoyed by generations of visitors, but also more than 40 species of birds and animals dependent upon the cutthroat trout. Those most affected by this loss include grizzlies, osprey, eagles and otters.
The Foundation supports the Yellowstone Park Foundation and its many partners in an aggressive campaign to suppress lake trout and restore cutthroat trout. Only through the removal of large numbers of lake trout will Yellowstone cutthroat trout have a chance to rebound.
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