Critical Habitat projects are our state’s primary tool for conserving important fish and wildlife habitat. These projects protect the rich and diverse habitats in our forests, prairies, and wetlands. These funds help maintain our state’s biodiversity and protect species that are popular for hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreation, and are critical for the health of our salmon and fish populations.
This site represents one of the last opportunities to protect a large piece of functioning prairie/oak/wetland landscape in the Puget Trough and is one of only about 5 remaining high quality examples of glacial outwash prairie landscapes. W. Rocky Prairie contains about 300 acres of mounded prairie, 360 acres of wetlands and riparian systems, 40 acres of oak woodland and 300 acres mixed forest.This site contains a federally threatened and state endangered plant, water howellia, as well as a state sensitive plant, white-topped aster. The area is one of only two remaining sites in the Puget Trough of WA that contains all of the prairie specialist butterflies, including mardon skipper, Puget blue, whulge checkerspot, valley silverspot, coastal woodland skipper, Juba skipper, Sonora skipper, Oregon branded skipper and Dunn skipper, as well as the oak specialist, the Propertius’ duskywing. The extensive wetland-riparian complex supports 1 of 3 known populations of the endangered Oregon spotted frog and the Olympic mudminnow. This is also a prime site for reintroduction of the endangered western pond turtle. Declining prairie birds present include the Oregon vesper sparrow and western meadowlark.The site has been recommended for protection by the Interagency Prairie Landscape Working Group which includes DNR, Thurston County, US Fish & Wildlife Services, Environmental Protection Agency, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of Puget Prairie and the Washington Natural Heritage Program.