Counties endorse lower White River conservation effort

Pierce and King County have come together to endorse community efforts to protect the natural diversity of the lower White River between Sumner and Buckley and designate that section of the river as the Lower White River Biodiversity Management Area. In a proclamation issued today, Executive John W. Ladenburg says the county will “recognize, and as appropriate, protect the natural diversity in the Lower White River through planning actions, technical consultations, voluntary conservation and tax incentives and coordinated strategic lands purchases.”

The designated area has been identified as one of 16 unique places in the South Sound that sustains healthy populations of fish, mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and plants. Collectively, these areas define a network of biologically important habitats that conserve wildlife and meet human needs, such as providing sources of clean water.

The biodiversity network was defined in 2000 by Pierce Planning and Land Services, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the University of Washington and includes biologically important areas within Pierce County watersheds and adjacent counties. The network is a nonregulatory approach to conservation and stewardship. The Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance formed to support the implementation of biological surveys and encourage the involvement of citizens in conservation action.

A community organization called the Friends of the Lower White River is now being formed to work for the biodiversity and health of the Lower White River basin and its communities.

Residents of the Buckley, Sumner and Lake Tapps areas are invited to get involved. More information about the Friends of the Lower White River can be obtained by contacting Jeanne Fancher at .

The Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance has brought together scientists, educators, and volunteers for the conservation and stewardship effort. Participants represent the University of Washington, Tahoma Audubon, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Tacoma Nature Center, Pierce Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, and Pierce and King county governments. Funding support is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Biodiversity Council, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The project is a joint effort of the Puyallup River Watershed Council and the Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance.