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Aug 02

Rural Climate Dialogue Results in Climate Action Plan and Restores Participants’ Faith in Democracy

Posted to Conservation Corner by Allan Warren

This is one of seven presentations given by local experts on what the expected impacts of climate change will be for our local communities. Others presentations include climate impacts on weather, wildfire, agriculture, emergency preparedness, air quality, and utilities. You can find all of the presentations on our website here.

On June 9-13, 2021, the Pierce County Rural Climate Dialogue brought together 15 rural residents selected to represent a diverse cross-section of the county for a five-day deliberative event. Participants were tasked with creating a shared, community-based response to climate change and extreme weather events in response to their charge: 


“How might our community,

in the face of extreme weather and climate change,

secure a healthy, resilient, and economically vibrant future?“


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Jun 01


Posted to Environmental Education by Allan Warren

Salmon release photo

Salish Sea Heroes Project Wraps Up

There was a sense of accomplishment as we watched the salmon fry dart to the edges of Swan Creek after being dropped into their new home. They had been raised at the Foss Waterway Seaport from the time they were eggs as part of the Salish Sea Heroes project with Tacoma Public Schools. Community partners, including Pierce Conservation District, teamed up with 5th grade classes to deliver remote lessons about salmon and the Salish Sea, and how the plight of resident orcas can be tied to the health of local salmon runs. We also collected data on Swan Creek and provided it to the students to determine the best spot to release the salmon. After learning about native and invasive vegetation, macroinvertebrates, and stream health, the students cast their votes. 

Progress with Glacier Middle School Volunteers

The final wheelbarrow full of mulch signaled the end of a hard yet productive shift for the volunteers from Glacier Middle School. We had placed heaps of burlap and mulch over the recently planted area in an effort to keep the blackberry canes at bay. The area along the White River has been transformed over these past several months thanks to the dedicated teachers and students during regular work parties. Our conservation crews have also been a key part of our early success, and we’ll look to keep momentum going over the summer as we clear more room for planting later this year.Poster Contest logo

Forest Poster Contest

Are you a student artist, or know someone who is? Check out this year’s NACD poster contest – Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities!

Aug 03

Forterra and Pierce Conservation District Conserve Property Along South Prairie Creek

Posted to Habitat Improvement by Allan Warren

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: