Mazama Pocket Gopher

Mazama pocket gophers are an important component in South Sound prairies. While still found in Thurston and Pierce Counties, they are globally rare and considered threatened with extinction by the State of Washington.
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Center for Natural
Lands Management
South Sound Prairies Program
120 Union Ave SE #215
Olympia, WA 98501
Main line: 360-464-1024

Patrick Dunn
South Puget Sound 
Program Director


Sanders Freed
Thurston County Program Manager


Sarah Hamman
Prairie Conservation Science
Program Manager


Mason McKinley
Joint Base Lewis-McChord 
Program Manager


Sierra Smith
Conservation Nursery Program Manager


Elspeth Hilton Kim
Cooperative Conservation Program Manager


Joy Hochstein
Grants Administrator


Technical Information

Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership brings together professional conservationists and restorationists from throughout the Northwest. If you would like to reference scientific papers about prairies or network with the professional conservation community please contact Elspeth Hilton Kim.

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CNLM's South Sound Program Quarterly Highlights 

The South Sound Program has been working on prairie conservation for almost two decades. We work with a wide-range of public agencies and private landowners assisting with protection and restoration of prairies.

July-September 2018

Summer of 2018: Some Numbers from the Avian Conservation Program

Scientists and Ranchers Collaborate for New Program

Growing CNLM’s Butterfly and Pollinator Conservation Program in new locations

New Evergreen Students Take to the Farm

Seed Delivery to Prairies Evolves


Five Unique Presentations at the 2018 CPOP Conference 

The 2018 Cascadia Prairie-Oak Partnership Conference was held in Eugene, OR in April. There were over 65 presentations and 26 posters that covered a wide variety of topics and themes. It may be hard to imagine how there could be so many different things to discuss when it comes to prairie-oak conservation in the Cascadia region, but a quick look at some of the more unique presentations will give you an idea of the multitudes of topics that are involved in restoring a diverse habitat type across a wide range of geographies, engaging with many different communities, challenges, and opportunities. All abstracts with links to available oral and poster presentations PDFs can be found here.

  1. Elk Rock Cliff: A Novel Method for Conducting Vegetation Surveys on a Vertical Cliff Face. Laura Guderyahn, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Mary Bushman, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. This presentation, part of the “Decision Tools” session, outlined the intricate photography-based approach this team had to take to survey the vegetation of a 3.3 acre, 300 foot talk basalt cliff that is dominated by native Oregon white oak and madrone woodland. Analyzing over 100 individual high-resolution photographs and comparing them to real time examination of the cliff face allowed ecologists to identify dozens of species of invasive and native plants, with GIS technology used to determine canopy cover for each species. The results of this effort will allow the city to prioritize, identify funding for, and implement restoration (another challenging task) to preserve and protect the rare species that still exist on Elk Rock Cliff. View the powerpoint presentation here. 
  2. Ant Attendance and Conservation of Prairie Butterflies. Cameron Thomas and Cheryl Schultz, Washington State University, Vancouver. This presentation, part of the “Invertebrates” session, discussed the status of at-risk prairie butterflies with ant-butterfly mutualisms in the western US. Ant attendance is an interaction in which ants protect larvae from predators and parasitoids in exchange for nutrient rich excretions. The finding of the research indicated that survival of larval Fender’s blue butterfly, a federally endangered species, is three times higher when frequently tended by ants. This activity by ants is associated with certain habitat structures, providing critical information for restoration efforts. View the powerpoint presentation here.  
  3. From Lawn to Lilies: A Blank Slate Eco-Cultural Restoration Project in Coastal B.C. Aimee Pelletier, Parks Canada. This presentation, part of the “Stories from the Grove: Prairies and Oaks in the Peopled Landscape” special session, highlighted a community education and outreach success story. The Garry Oak Learning Meadow is a project initiated in 2010 as a way of engaging the public in restoring a site from a patch of degraded lawn to a diverse wildflower meadow that attracts and supports local biodiversity. First Nations, volunteers, students, and community partners were integrated into the Parks Canada led project every step of the way. Now in its 6th spring, the resulting wildflower show is a peak visitor attraction and has become an education hub for the public, an outdoor classroom for students, and a living laboratory for citizen science research. View the powerpoint presentation here.
  4. Oakbirdpop: An Online Interactive Decision Support Tool for Assessing Bird Population Changes from Management and Restoration of Oak Habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Caitlyn Gillespie, Klamath Bird Observatory. This presentation, part of the “Birds” session, introduced a new online Decision Support Tool. OakBirdPop uses region-specific bird density data for current and future-projected oak habitat types and conditions to display the population response of different bird species and compare it to regional bird population objectives. OakBirdPop builds on the successful framework of The Land Manager’s Guide to Bird Habitat and Populations in Oak Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, which provides an introduction to how bird species-habitat relationships can guide restoration planning and monitoring in oak habitats.  View the powerpoint presentation here.
  5. Restoring Native Diversity to Working Lands: Opportunities to Expand the Conservation Portfolio. Sarah Hamman, Center for Natural Lands Management. This presentation, part of the “Grazing for Conservation: How, When, Where, and Why?” Special Session, explored the capacity of working landscapes to provide rare species habitat, while maintaining productive fields for cattle. Research carried out at a western Washington ranch investigated the effects of grazing on native plant establishment and impact of native seeding on forage grass production. The study found that grazing had no significant impact on seeded species richness, and that seeding treatment approach did make a significant difference. The results suggest that high-intensity rotational grazing with a spring rest period can maintain forage grasses and support a select mix of native prairie species. View the powerpoint presentation here.

And don’t forget to check out the many interesting posters as well, including:

  1. Landowner Attitudes Towards Conservation of Oak Woodlands in Humboldt County, CA. Anna Urias, Humboldt State University. This poster presents research on a preliminary model of identifying and classifying private landowners’ attitudes towards the conservation and restoration of oak woodlands in northern California, where the majority of the habitat occurs on private property.  View the poster here.
  2. Speaking as White: Learning about Equity in Conservation Practice. Elaine Stewart, Metro. This poster, and its corresponding lunchtime discussion, looked at ways to change our habits and welcome equity into our work, and roles and responsibilities of White people in this effort. Useful strategies in advancing equity include seeking out voices of color and accessing available opportunities for training, and a few of the many resources were provided.  View the poster here.
  3. South Sound Prairie Plants and Animal Pollinator Dependency. Susan Waters, Amber Hailey, and Brittany Oxford, Center for Natural Lands Management. This poster shared findings of a research project aimed at assessing species-specific pollinator dependence of native and exotic forb species on Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s high-quality Johnson Prairie. View the poster here.
  4. Hydrologic Monitoring of Restored Wetland Prairie with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone). Paul Gordon, City of Eugene. This poster illustrates the use of drones by the City of Eugene to conduct photo monitoring and generate georeferenced images. Images were post-processed to 1) document completed actions, 2) reveal flow patterns of surface hydrology that had been modified by constructed features, and 3) report on the progress and success of restoration actions. View the poster here.
  5. Prairie, Oaks, and People. Sara Evans-Peters and Bruce Taylor, Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture; Bob Altman, American Bird Conservancy; Elspeth Hilton Kim, Center for Natural Lands Management; Nicole Maness, Willamette Partnership; Jaime Stephens, Klamath Bird Observatory. Learn more about this recently published conservation business plan for the prairie-oak habitats of the Pacific Northwest. With a shared vision and an overarching framework, the business plan presents clear strategies, outlines the resources necessary to meet conservation goals, and creates accountability by defining measurable outcomes. View the poster here.





CNLM's South Sound Program Quarterly Highlights

The South Sound Program has been working on prairie conservation for almost two decades. We work with a wide-range of public agencies and private landowners assisting with protection and restoration of prairies.

April - June 2018

Restoration Begins at Two New Conservation Properties in Thurston County

Wolf Haven Bat Box Occupied by Maternity Colony

Watching Bees for Conservation

Island Marble Butterflies on San Juan Island

2018 MAPS Bird Banding Training

Educational Signs at Four Popular Prairie Preserves