News Flash

County Council

Posted on: December 28, 2021

South Prairie Creek preservation project adds 33 acres of critical habitat

News Release
Office of the Pierce County Council

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
December 28, 2021

Last week land conservation agency Forterra announced it acquired a critical 33-acre section of privately owned property along South Prairie Creek in Buckley. 

In 2019 the Pierce County Council approved Conservation Futures funding to help purchase the property, which is part of a larger restoration effort to protect critical salmon habitat and floodplain along South Prairie Creek.  

The 33 acres are adjacent to the existing 134-acre South Prairie Creek Preserve and once vacated will be added to a larger floodplain restoration project.  

“This property and its acquisition were always a priority, even as other pieces of the larger preservation and conservation efforts took shape over the last 20 years,” said Pierce County Councilmember Ryan Mello. “I’m thankful for the partnership and initiative to take action from Forterra and the Pierce Conservation District, along with the county’s Conservation Futures program, Surface Water Management division, and County Council to make this collaborative project a reality.” 

South Prairie Creek is a tributary to the Carbon River, which flows from the Carbon Glacier on Mount Rainier, and is one of the principal salmon streams in the Puyallup-White River watershed. South Prairie Creek provides habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook and steelhead as well as Coho, Chum, Pink, Bull trout and other species. 

Forterra will hold ownership of the property and temporarily lease it back to the sellers, who previously used the property to house a residence, horse boarding and racing facility. Ultimately all structures will be removed, and the property will be transferred to the Pierce Conservation District in 2023. Upon transfer restoration work will begin. 

The long-term goal for the larger South Prairie Creek Preserve is to improve water quality, enhance salmon migration, create spawning habitat and restore the floodplain. 

“This project demonstrates the importance of collaboration, communication and relationships. It only became a reality after years of diligence and commitment by many people and agencies,” said Kimberly Freeman, Resource Stewardship Superintendent with Pierce County Parks. 

Those involved with the purchase and ongoing conservation efforts of South Prairie Creek include Forterra, the county’s Conservation Futures and Surface Water Management divisions, the Pierce Conservation District, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, state Recreation and Conservation Office, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group and the Puyallup/Chambers Salmon Recovery Lead Entity.

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 MEDIA CONTACT:
 
Brynn Grimley, Communications Manager
 
Office of the Pierce County Council
 
O: 253-798-7761 | C: 253-820-6896
[email protected]

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