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Prairie Conservation and the Habitat Conservation Plan


Territorial View with trees and snow

South Puget Sound prairies and oak woodlands were once sprawling grasslands that stretched for hundreds of miles. Though the region might be better known for its heavily wooded forests and glacial peaks, the grasslands, savannas and streams are home to rare species that can only be found in this unique region. Prairies also provide clean water, because the prairie soils absorb and filter stormwater that then replenishes drinking water aquifers.

Now, less than ten percent of those prairies exist. Very little of that land is high quality prairie habitat, due to development, agriculture and invasion of non-native species.  A few of the larger prairies, like the Mima Mounds, can be seen easily, while others are scattered among forests, farms and houses. Plants and animals that once thrived, like the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and Oregon white oak, are now threatened or endangered. The permeable prairie soils are absorbing not only stormwater, but run-off and pollutants, too. Thurston County is working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a long-lasting Habitat Conservation Plan that addresses the issues that face our disappearing prairies and oak woodlands.

Prairie Details / Benefits:
Learn more about Thurston County’s Habitat Conservation Plan.

News and Updates: Find out what’s happening with the HCP here. News Graphic

Streaked Horned Lark Species of Concern: Take a look at some of the threatened and endangered species that the County’s Habitat Conservation Plan is designed to protect.

Resources and Partners: A job this big can’t be done alone. Find out more information on our partners and how you can make the HCP work for you. Butterfly on Flower

Praire Aerial Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below is a video introducing the history, necessity, and benefits of a Habitat Conservation Plan:


Contact Us

Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contact: Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, ext. 5467. E-mail: deffoba@co.thurston.wa.us.

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