Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The Auburn Environmental Park (AEP) project featured several major project components geared toward completing the initial phase (Phase 1) of developing the AEP. The AEP is a multi-purpose regional open space park located on a 120-acre palustrine wetland complex just west of the downtown core in Auburn, Washington. The AEP’s 120 Phase 1 acres are bounded to the west by State Route 167, to the north by 15th Street NW, to the south by West Main Street, and to the east by the regional Interurban Trail. Major components of the WWRP-funded project included: 1) The acquisition of the 29-acre Auburn Land Company property at the north end of the AEP, thereby completing City ownership of the 120-acre Phase 1 area; 2) Construction of a multi-platform, ADA accessible, publicly accessible bird and wildlife viewing tower at the southeast corner of the AEP; 3) Construction of the approximately 1,200-foot long Wetland Trail through portions of the AEP’s forested, scrub shrub, emergent, and open water wetland areas, which provided a second (West Main Street) pedestrian entrance to the AEP, consisted primarily of a six foot wide elevated wooden boardwalk, and included three observation platforms with visitor amenities such as interpretive and wayfinding signage, picnic tables, bike racks, and benches; and 4) Habitat enhancement for approximately 105,000 square feet of wetlands and associated upland buffer areas in the AEP that largely consisted of removing large areas of invasive reed canary grass, and planting over 2,500 native trees and shrubs.