Habitat Improvement

Read about our ongoing habitat improvement work.

Dec 01

Planting Trees for the Salmon of the South Prairie Creek

Posted on December 1, 2022 at 4:00 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

Volunteers after their hard work planting trees!
Volunteers after their hard work planting trees.

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who came out to South Prairie Creek Preserve on November 19th

We had a great turnout. Close to 20 community members attended! Together, the volunteers planted over 200 trees and native plants in a short amount of time .  Even though the ground was quite frozen, that didn’t stop them from helping the habitat of South Prairie Creek Preserve 

10A beautiful day at South Prairie Creek.  The ground is frosty and the sun is out.
Volunteers were able to see salmon that had already spawned along the creek.

The trees they planted will provide many ecological benefits like:

  • increasing habitat for wildlife and
  • improving streambank stability to prevent erosion in the future


IMG_7398A salmon that spawned in south prairie creek lying dead in the water.
A beautiful day at South Prairie Creek. The ground was frosty and the sun was out.
Aug 22


Posted on August 22, 2022 at 2:43 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

SPCP instream structurePhoto: The new side channel shortly after being fully connected with the mainstem of South Prairie Creek.  Not only did this new channel create a half-mile of salmon habitat, but it reconnects the mainstem to the adjacent floodplain, which allows for critical processes that help with flood storage, maintaining flow during summer months, and keeping water temperatures cool.

After years of planning and months of construction, the South Prairie Creek Preserve project reached an important milestone recently in the effort to improve salmon habitat in the Puyallup River watershed.  On a sunny fall day in early October, the barriers that had cordoned off the new side channel from the mainstem of South Prairie Creek were removed, resulting in unobstructed flow and fish access to this new habitat.  

Even before this, salmon migrating upstream were navigating their way through the channel-spanning structures that were built in the mainstem to recruit gravel and create habitat features where fish can rest, feed, rear, and spawn.  The new side channel has also created a half-mile of new habitat that fish can use year-round.

In addition to these in-stream improvements, the project includes several dozen acres of restoration planting.  Over time, these plantings will create a riparian and floodplain forest that will sustain many of the ecosystem process currently missing from this site.  Some of the project area was able to be planted prior to construction, but now that the earthwork is done, the planting effort ramps up to finish the job.  

Check out a Story Map of the Project: Click Here
A HUGE THANKS is due to the coalition of partners who worked doggedly to bring this project to fruition:  South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, Pierce County, and the Puyallup Tribe, in addition to project engineers Natural System Designs, contractor Active Construction Inc., cultural resource consultant Aqua Terra, Snohomish CD engineering staff, and field crewsfrom Earth Corps and the Washington Conservation Corps.  Funding provided by the WA State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Dept. of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership's Puget Sound Acquisition and RestorationORD plantng at SPCP Fund, Puget Sound National Estuary Program's Habitat Strategic Initiative, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County Surface Water Management, Puyallup Watershed Salmon Recovery Lead Entity, and WA Conservation Commission.  And last but not least, many thanks to the volunteers who have been part of the planting efforts over the years!  We couldn’t do it without you!

Photo Caption:  PCD hosted a few small
 planting parties along the banks of the new
 side channel in honor of Orca Recovery Day (Oct. 17).

SPCP Project Facts:

  • Demolition of 11 buildings and a creosote bridge over South Prairie Creek.
  • Installation of a new bridge over Silver Springs Creek. 
  • Restoration of 2,600 linear feet of side channel on the north floodplain. 
  • Installation of 113 engineered log structures, resulting in 4,648 new pieces of wood in the project reach. 
  • Noxious weed treatment and re-vegetation of up to 50 acres of floodplain and riparian forest.
  • Project cost:  $4.85 million.

Jun 01

June is Ocean Month!

Posted on June 1, 2022 at 4:34 PM by Mary Krauszer

Colorful seaweed at the waterline at low tide. Photo taken at Titlow Park, Tacoma.

June is Ocean Month! 

The White House has proclaimed June 2022 as Ocean Month to “celebrate the beauty and power of our ocean…(and) remember our shared responsibility to protect and preserve it.” The Puget Sound, connected as a part of the Salish Sea connected to the Pacific Ocean, is our local link to Ocean Month. The ecological, cultural, and economic value of the Puget Sound to our region cannot be overstated. Since time immemorial, Coast Salish people have relied on the natural resources and processes tied to marine waters for their sustenance, culture, and ways of life, including sustaining relatives like salmon and orca. In 2022, we recognize that our marine waters are imperiled, and it is our collective responsibility to steward our shared Puget Sound.

Continue Reading...