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Posted on August 26, 2021 at 10:27 AM by Allan Warren
As we prepare for the 4th annual Orca Recovery Day, a Pacific Northwest region wide event that joins hundreds of organizations and thousands of people in action to recover the most iconic species of our region, it's important to take a look back and reflect on how this movement started and how much we have collectively accomplished. There's so much more work to be done, but with 3 new calves in the last year, including one mothered by Tahlequah, who's tragic tour of grief with her previous calf that died was what started the whole effort, there's reason for hope. But we can't stop now, we must keep working and together, we can restore the ecosystem that the endangered Southern Resident Orca Whales rely on for survival. We hope you'll join us October 16th for this year's Orca Recovery Day!
Posted on August 25, 2021 at 1:23 PM by Allan Warren
From a young age I have been fascinated by ecosystems and how they function. My B.S. in Biology from UW and M.S. in Ecology from UC Davis further confirmed my interest and prepared me for my future career in habitat improvement, as did my first-ever job monitoring habitat and water quality of streams on the Kitsap Peninsula.
I am excited to return to Washington and join the PCD team as the habitat improvement program director after having spent the past 12 years working as an Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR). I started at CDWR as the lead for the Department's benthic monitoring program in the San Francisco Estuary, then transitioned into roles focused on habitat restoration planning and research. Most recently I was the contract manager and restoration lead for the multi-benefit Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration and Flood Improvement Project in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, a 3,400-acre project that, once implemented, will be the largest tidal habitat restoration project in California. Although I greatly enjoyed my work in California, I grew up studying and exploring the forests and beaches of western Washington and have always dreamed of returning to work on restoration of the ecosystems I love within my home state. I’m very much looking forward to taking on my new role and assisting PCD in expanding opportunities for habitat improvement and restoration throughout Pierce County.
When I’m not working you’ll find me traveling (when it’s safe), hiking, camping, learning about photography, spoiling my elderly dog, or playing the violin in a community orchestra. You may also find me out and about shopping for rain gear for my husband and young daughter and generally helping them adjust to life in the Pacific Northwest.
Heather will start as the new Habitat Improvement Program Director on September 27th, you can send her a warm welcome at: HeatherG@piercecd.org
Posted on August 3, 2021 at 8:20 AM by Allan Warren
Conservation of property along South Prairie Creek adds to multi-year, multi-stakeholder effort to support salmon, restore natural water systems and generate cleaner water. The five-acre property adds to a 129-acre project restoration area.
Pierce Conservation District and Forterra, a Washington-based nonprofit land trust, conserved critical salmon habitat along South Prairie Creek, a major tributary of the Carbon River and the Puyallup River. This recent acquisition is part of a larger multi-stakeholder 16-year effort to reconnect wildlife habitats and floodplains along the creek to restore salmon to the watershed.
The 5-acre property adds to the 129-acre conservation and restoration effort that began in 2005. Over the past 16 years, partners have demolished 11 buildings, restored 2,600 linear feet of side channel, installed 113 engineered log structures that provide habitat and planted more than 18,000 native plant species. In 2020, crews completed development of a new side channel that is fully connected with the main stem of the creek. Together, the goal is to reconnect and establish healthy habitats and floodplains.
”South Prairie Creek is one of the most important salmon streams in Pierce County,” said Allan Warren, project lead for Pierce Conservation District. “The acquisition of this additional 5-acres is the first step in the development of the next major habitat restoration project for South Prairie Creek. Along with projects downstream, ultimately, we will have created more than a mile of continuous, complex habitat to help restore endangered populations of Chinook, steelhead and other salmon.”
As a tributary to the Carbon River, South Prairie Creek is a principal salmon-bearing stream in the Puyallup and White rivers watershed. For decades, development and use in the area limited instream habitat, diminished water quality and cut off floodplains. Restoration efforts are returning the landscape’s natural systems, improving water quality and supporting wildlife — specifically Chinook, Coho, Pink and Chum salmon as well as Steelhead Trout.
“This effort is much larger than the acreage of any one property,” said Forterra managing director of conservation transactions, Joe Sambataro. “It is about restoring natural systems, ensuring future generations have clean water and salmon and rethinking how we connect to the landscape.”
Forterra is facilitating the acquisition of this latest property on behalf of Pierce Conservation District, which is directly matching grant funds from the State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to be. Other key partners in the larger 16-year restoration effort include the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, and Puget Sound Partnership.
“The acquisition reflects the kind of multi-agency interest needed to accomplish large-scale restoration projects,” said Puyallup Tribe fisheries director Russ Ladley. “The tribe is delighted to partner with so many enthusiastic individuals.”
Building a New Future at South Prairie Creek from Pierce Conservation District on Vimeo.
To learn more about the overall project, watch the short film “Building a New Future at South Prairie Creek” here: https://vimeo.com/527347579