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 Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to buy 147.5 acres of the highest quality privately-owned prairie in Thurston County. Located near Grand Mound, the land is a priority area for protecting the Mazama pocket gopher, which is listed as at-risk of extinction by both the state and federal governments. Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, the mardon skipper butterfly, and five additional species of greatest conservation need also use the prairie. The land is next to department’s Scatter Creek Unit and would increase the wildlife area unit to 1,063 acres. The property contains the unique south Puget Sound prairie ecosystem including highly sought prairie soils, a significant oak woodland, wetlands, and more than a half-mile of Scatter Creek. The public can use the land for walking, hiking, dog training, wildlife watching, and bird hunting. The expanded wildlife area would provide one of the largest horseback riding opportunities in the south Puget Sound via a series of trails that meander thru restored prairie and upland forests.