Created by retreating glaciers 15,000 years ago, the dwindling prairies and oak woodlands and savannas of the South Puget Sound were once abundant landscapes in the region. Now, Washington state manages two of the remaining prairie habitats in the Sound Sound area: Mima Mounds National Area Preserve (637-acre) and the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area (1200-acre). These increasingly scarce and fragile ecosystems provide the critical habitat needed for rare and endemic species of wildflowers, butterflies, and fauna. Some of the species include the golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori), pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama), and streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata).
Currently, Colorado State University and the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands are conducting a prairie habitat restoration support project based out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in western Washington. This project is working towards habitat restoration and improvement for native animal and plant species of special concern, conducting prescribed burns, and tracking and monitoring seed production, among other activities.