• The transfer of 14 acres of key salmon habitat on Fennel Creek.
• Creates a permanent conservation zone in Pierce County.
• Helps restore salmon habitat for cultural, environmental and food needs.
BONNEY LAKE, WA—Forterra today announced the transfer of ownership of 14 acres along Fennel Creek to Pierce County for restoration and long-term stewardship. This property is a key parcel of a critical salmon habitat in the Puyallup River watershed.
Forterra purchased the property in 2019 using funding from grants from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and through Piece County Conservation Futures, which enable counties to levy property tax to acquire land for conservation.
The transfer expands the overall Fennel Creek conservation site to 55 acres and allows for the design of a third phase of restoration work to move forward. Previous efforts included floodplain re-connection and stream enhancement.
“Forterra was fortunate to be able to step in to acquire this piece of land at Fennel Creek for restoration and conservation,” said Joe Sambataro, Forterra managing director of conservation transactions. “When we are able to act quickly and strategically, people and the environment are the beneficiaries of those actions.”
The Puyallup River Watershed is home to multiple threatened salmonid species, including Puget Sound Chinook, Steelhead and Bull Trout. These species are critical not only to the environment but also to the local economy and culture. Years of wetland fill and in-stream structures blocking fish passage have limited salmonids’ access to their historic range, increased their mortality rate and reduced spawning productivity. Fennel Creek is one of several places within the watershed that continues to provide quality habitats for salmonids.
“We greatly appreciate our long-standing collaboration with Forterra on conservation efforts throughout the watershed,” said David Davis, Pierce County project manager. “Through partnerships like this we are able to multiply restoration efforts that benefit the community.”
The restoration plan for the site is to provide floodplain enhancement along the right bank of Fennel Creek. This work includes the removal of residential structures and dredging berms that disconnected Fennel Creek from its floodplain. Native plants will also be used to reforest the landscape, increasing the natural functionality of the floodplain habitat.
“The Puyallup Tribe Fisheries Department is delighted with the land transfer and ensuing floodplain reconnection effort,” said Russ Ladley, Puyallup Tribal Fisheries Director. “Now the entire alluvial fan of Fennel Creek is in public hands and natural riverine processes can continue to reshape the landscape into a more fish- and wildlife-friendly condition. We are proud of the partnerships that worked to make this happen and look forward to many more soon.”
Managing Director of Media Relations and Storytelling, Forterra
Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions. Visit www.forterra.org.