Keeping Dead Man’s Pond habitat alive

Thanks to support from The Russell Family Foundation, Forterra was recently able to acquire five urban wetland acres in southwest Puyallup, known locally as Dead Man’s Pond, with the intention to permanently conserve it through a partnership with the City of Puyallup.

Late last year, the City of Puyallup approached Forterra and requested assistance to protect the five-acre property adjacent to Dead Man’s Pond. With few funding options available to it at the time, the City requested Forterra purchase the property and maintain it for up to three years until the City can gather sufficient resources to purchase the property from Forterra. The Russell Family Foundation recently provided a financial guarantee which Forterra utilized to finance the acquisition of the property.

The urban pond, which is under dense development pressure, is home to bald eagles, deer and heron and provides habitat for the threatened western pond turtle. The property is connected to 8.66 acres of forested wetlands conserved by the City and Forterra in 2012, which is connected to over 200 acres of natural area.

“Protecting Dead Man’s Pond allows the City to provide high-quality open space within city limits to its residents,” said Puyallup Mayor John Knutsen.

“Dead Man’s Pond not only provides critical habitat for a variety of wildlife species, but conserving the area also helps to protect water quality for Clarks Creek and the threatened salmon that inhabit the creek downstream of the pond,” says Jordan Rash, Conservation Director for Forterra in Tacoma. This project represents a great partnership between the Foundation, City of Puyallup and Forterra. Without this partnership, the opportunity to permanently protect the Pond and its habitat would have been lost.”

“We were very happy to work with Forterra to help conserve Dead Man’s Pond,” said Richard Woo, CEO at The Russell Family Foundation. “Protecting these precious habitat areas is vital to wildlife, people, and sustainable communities. These values are core to our mission.”

The City will manage the property during Forterra’s ownership and will work with Forterra to apply for grant funds over the next several months that will allow the City to purchase the property.


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

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