Washington Shrub Steppe
Arid, but not quite desert, shrub steppe gets enough water to support grasses, shrubs and ground covers. Much of Washington's shrub steppe areas have been converted to rangeland or farming, but this section has been preserved for many years due to it's proximity to the Hanford Nuclear reservation. It is a habitat for several interesting and even endangered species like burrowing owls and pygmy rabbits, but being winter most of the critters have packed themselves away for the season (though that also means no rattlers out either), so we only spotted a few birds of prey from afar and one lone mule deer with binoculars, but we still got to experience a disappearing Washington landscape.
''Artemisia tridentata'', commonly called "big sagebrush" or "sagebrush", is an aromatic shrub from the family Asteraceae, which grows in arid and semi-arid conditions, throughout a range of cold desert, steppe, and mountain habitats in the Intermountain West of North America. The vernacular name "sagebrush" is also used for several related members of the genus ''Artemisia'', such as California Sagebrush .
Big Sagebrush and other ''Artemisia'' species are the dominant plants across large.. more