Important Bird Areas

Yakima Training Center

Washington

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/usibac/2008_P6/WA360m_YakimaTC08.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

The Yakima Training Center is the only place in Washington where shrub-steppe occurs on a landscape scale--i.e., the shrub-steppe habitat occurs across a series of north- and south-facing slopes and valley bottoms, unbroken by agriculture. A 1999 Nature Conservancy report stated that the extentof contiguous high quality, low elevation big sagebrush communities along with the more common high elevation types is unique and of regional importance.

The extensive landscape supports an assemblage of birds associated with the native sagebrush and bunchgrass ecosystem, including Ferruginous Hawk, Greater Sage Grouse, Short-eared Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, Sage Thrasher; and Brewer's, Vesper, and Sage Sparrows. The Training Center supports 158 native bird species, 68 of which breed there. It is one of only two places in the region that support Greater Sage Grouse50 percent of the statewide populationand is the only site in this region to support widespread and abundant populations of all the shrub-steppe dependent migrant species.

Conservation Issues

This habitat type is at considerable risk of conversion by wildfire, which drives the successional path towards annual grasses (cheatgrass). The DoD is aware of the habitat values associated with the shrub-steppe and its suite of wildlife, and attempts to manage the site with an eye towards balancing training needs with habitat integrity.

Ownership

The site is managed by the Dept. of Defense as the "Yakima Firing Center Military Reservation."

Habitat

The Yakima Training Center contains some of the most important shrub-steppe habitat left in Washington. Many seasonal and a few small perennial streams dissect the area and support limited riparian vegetation.

Land Use

The site is an active military training base.