Wet Prairie Swales of South Puget Sound

Because these areas presumably covered limited area and had been highly disturbed, most prior prairie conservation priorities in the South Puget Sound have been directed towards triage of dry upland prairie sites, which have dramatically declined from their historic area (Crawford and Hall 1997; Chappell et al., 2001). Thus, the extent, composition and function of wet prairie swales in the historic and current South Puget Sound prairie landscape have not been specifically addressed by conservationists.

However, functioning wet margins of upland prairies may enhance wildlife resources available on the landscape, and wet prairie management may be critical to the long-term conservation of some prairie species (see ‘Ecological Processes and Functions of Wet Prairie Swales’, below.)

This project was undertaken to provide some baseline information regarding the wet prairie habitat type in the South Puget Sound, including the following.

1. Investigate the location and extent of historic and existing wet prairies in the South Puget Sound region.

2. Research and describe ecological characteristics of existing and historic wet prairies in the South Puget Sound region, including ecological processes, ecological functions and conservation significance, and vegetation composition.

3. Map the riparian corridor of a portion of Muck Creek; use information gathered during the course of this project to make recommendations for restoring wet prairie swale habitat and function along this reach of the creek.