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Pierce Conservation District Reforestation Program

Revegetating river ecosystems in Washington for wild salmon populations


Wild salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest are thought to have declined by 98% since the turn of the 20th century. This is largely due to habitat degradation and loss. One example is the increase in pavement and hard surfaces next to salmon spawning rivers which lead to toxic stormwater runoff polluting the water. This project addresses this by planting trees in urban areas and along waterways in Pierce County, Washington State.

United States
Forest Regeneration

Sustainable Development Goals

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Improved water quality

and healthy watersheds thanks to riparian planting

11. Sustainable communities and cities

Enhanced community well-being

thanks to urban green spaces

13. Climate Action

4,000 tonnes of CO2

sequestered over the project lifetime

15. Life on land

1.5 acres

(0.6 hectares) reforested with native trees

17. Partnerships for the goals

Community cooperation

and partnerships promoted

The Solution

This project is planting over 6,000 native trees–like, red cedar, fir, big leaf maple, and alder–on Pierce County’s publicly-owned green spaces, for example along Clarks Creek and tributary of the Puyallup River that supports chinook, coho, chum, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Like all reforestation projects, it's never as simple as just planting some seedlings, the land needs to be prepared and the trees require a lot of care. Invasive species, like reed canary grass, scotch broom and non-native blackberry, are removed and deterrents to stop deer and other animals from eating the tasty young saplings are put in place. The project will tend to the trees over the next 25 years to ensure as many as possible reach full maturity.


The local community gets involved in preparing the soil ready for reforesting.


The Impact

By planting a range of native tree species in carefully considered locations, the project is restoring precious ecosystems. Along rivers and streams, trees provide shade and soil stability, keeping them cool, oxygen-rich and free of sediment: the conditions wild salmon need to thrive. The trees sequester carbon dioxide as they grow and improve the beauty of urban areas for the local community to enjoy.

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