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Apr 14

Restoration Continues at South Prairie Creek Preserve!

Posted on April 14, 2022 at 2:55 PM by Lauryn Lopez

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Restoration efforts continue at Pierce Conservation District’s South Prairie Creek Preserve! In mid-October, we kicked off the fall planting season with a large-scale plant installation effort on the north floodplain. Between October 2021 and March 2022, several new planting areas were the focus of our revegetation efforts near a significant section of South Prairie Creek. The work accomplished this planting season was made possible by the collaborative efforts of staff, interns, the Washington Conservation Corps, Earthcorps, and many community volunteers.

We began plant installations with the celebration of Orca Recovery Day 2021, where volunteers planted 360 native trees and shrubs. Following Orca Recovery Day, PCD hosted two additional volunteer work parties in mid-January and mid-February, where volunteers planted 490 native shrubs. Between these volunteer planting events, the work of multiple Washington Conservation Corps crews, and the efforts of PCD staff and interns, we installed 10,943 native plants across over 15 acres of floodplain and riparian habitat. In addition to those plantings, several Earthcorps crews completed three infill plantings within our restoration areas. Overall, our collaborative efforts resulted in installing 12,293 native trees, shrubs, and live stake cuttings across over 20 acres, and along half a mile of South Prairie Creek! 

Although we made some great progress, this planting season has not been without its challenges. Three flooding events took place over the course of this planting season causing slight setbacks. As water levels rose, newly installed plants were submerged underwater in portions of the site, a small number of plants were uprooted and swept away, plant protection tubes were dispersed across the site, and large woody debris was deposited across the floodplain. These events created extra work, but despite these setbacks, we were able to clean up the flooding damage and meet our planting goals. The ecosystems along South Prairie Creek are resilient and have adapted to survive extreme events such as flooding. As the newly installed plants become established, they will provide critical functions to the floodplain and riparian systems including flood mitigation, filtration of water and sediments, erosion control, groundwater recharge, and the creation of vital habitat for numerous wildlife species. 

A big thank you to all the amazing community volunteers, crews, and other helping hands who made this work possible! We look forward to seeing many of you back out at the site as we continue our restoration efforts at South Prairie Creek Preserve. 

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PCD's current Washington Conservation Corps crew played a big role in the successful completion of the project. Volunteer helping install plant protection tubes at a volunteer event on April 2nd, 2022.  PCD intern helping distribute plant tubes and bamboo stakes at a volunteer event.