Conservation Corner

Aug 03

[ARCHIVED] Forterra and Pierce Conservation District Conserve Property Along South Prairie Creek

The original item was published from August 3, 2021 8:19 AM to August 3, 2021 8:20 AM

StubbsConservation 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: