FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2009
Temporary weekday closure at Mima Mounds NAP
Preserve to be closed Monday through Friday during oak woodland restoration
OLYMPIA – This month, Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will restore a Garry oak woodland located on the east side of the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve in Thurston County. Beginning Tuesday, October 13, the preserve will be closed to the public on weekdays for visitor safety during the tree removal. The closure will remain in effect on until the end of October. During this time, the preserve will be open for visits on weekends.
The restoration measures are necessary to allow more sunlight to reach the oaks. To accomplish this, DNR will selectively remove Douglas-fir trees that shade and over-top the oak trees.
Restoring an endangered ecosystem
Washington’s only native oak—the Garry oak—supports a unique ecosystem of animals, birds and butterflies that also use the Mima Mound preserve’s prairie ecosystem. These woodlands and savannas are some of the most endangered ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest: today, they cover less than 1 percent of their pre-European settlement area.
The oak restoration project at Mima Mounds is part of a region-wide effort to restore what little remains of this critical habitat. Oaks are not tolerant of the shade that is created by the faster-growing fir trees. In the past, frequent low-intensity fires suppressed the proliferation of the fire-intolerant Douglas fir seedlings, favoring the dominance of oaks in some areas. Without DNR action at this time, the oaks will continue to decline, and will slowly die. Care will be taken to protect soil and to avoid damage to oak trees and other native species. Visitors will notice that the forest area of the preserve will look different.
The Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP)—two miles west of Littlerock, off Waddell Creek Road—protects the best remaining example of the unique Mima Mounds. It also protects one of the last and largest remnants of Washington’s once extensive native prairie, and provides unique habitat for a diversity of plants and animals. The restoration of the oak woodland at Mima Mounds NAP is an important component of the long-term restoration goals for the preserve. The project is being conducted for ecological reasons, and is not intended to generate revenue other than to defray some of the cost of restoration activities.
If you have questions about the project or would like more information about oak restoration, please contact the site manager: Birdie Davenport at 360-596-5144.
DNR— steward of lands and natural resources
Natural Resources Conservation Areas
Conservation areas (NRCAs) protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes. Environmental education and low impact public use are appropriate where they do not impair the ecological values of the area protected. The program was established in 1987.
Habitats protected in NRCAs include coastal and high elevation forests, alpine lakes, wetlands, scenic vistas, nesting birds of prey, rocky headlands, and unique plant communities. Critical habitat is provided for many plant and animal species, including rare species. Conservation areas also protect geologic, cultural, historic, and archeological sites. Twenty nine sites total more than 94,479 acres of conservation areas in Washington.
Natural Area Preserves
DNR is manager and steward of 35,361 acres in 53 Natural Area Preserves throughout Washington. These preserves protect outstanding features including native forests and grasslands, bogs, and sagebrush communities, as well as habitat for other rare plant and animal species. Varying in size from about 5 acres to 3,600 acres, Natural Area Preserves are acquired through gift or purchase from willing sellers. This network of preserves represents a legacy for future generations and helps ensure that blueprints of the state's natural ecosystems are protected forever.
Media Contact: Jane Chavey, Sr. Communications Consultant, 360-902-1721, email@example.com
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