Rocky Prairie Natural Area Preserve
Features Protected: Idaho fescue grassland ecosystem, golden Indian-paintbrush, white-top aster, Mima Mound topography.
Ecoregion: Puget Trough (Thurston County)
This 35 acre preserve, located on a glacial outwash plain, protects an example of the "Mima Mound" landscape and a small remnant of native Puget prairie grassland, which is dotted with large glacial cobbles. The landscape is a gently rolling plain with low swales and rises. The largest known population of golden Indian-paintbrush, a federally listed threatened plant species, occurs on the preserve. A state-listed sensitive plant species that occurs only in Puget prairies, white topped aster, is also protected on the preserve.
Science, Research and Monitoring
Public and private universities, other research institutions and individual researchers may contact DNR to propose a research project at the site. If you are interested in pursuing research at Rocky Prairie NAP, please contact David Wilderman, natural areas ecologist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of research and monitoring projects that have been carried out at Rocky Prairie NAP:
- Dunwiddie, P.W., Davenport, R. and Speaks, P. 2001. Effects of burning on Castilleja levisecta at Rocky Prairie Natural Area Preserve, Washington: a summary of three long-term studies. In Reichard, S.H., Dunwiddie, P.W., Gamon, J., Kruckenberg, A.R. and Salstrom, D.L. editors. Conservation of Washington’s native plants and ecosystems. Washington Native Plant Society, Seattle, WA. Pp.161-172.
- Evans, S., Schuller, R., and E. Augenstein. 1984. A report on Castilleja levisecta at Rocky Prairie Thurston County, Washington. Report to The Nature Conservancy, Washington Field Office, Seattle, WA. 39pp. + appendices.
- Golden paintbrush population monitoring (conducted semi-annually)
Environmental Education and Public Access
Currently no formal educational programs are available at Rocky Prairie NAP. The site is not ADA accessible and facilities are not available. For more information, contact the DNR Pacific Cascade Region natural areas manager.
Volunteer site stewards are needed year round to monitor the site, remove invasive species and check perimeter fences. If you are interested in becoming a site steward, please contact the Pacific Cascade Region Natural Areas Manager for more information.
Restoration at Rocky Prairie Natural Area Preserve
The Department of Natural Resources, along with a number of partner organizations, is actively restoring parts of Rocky Prairie NAP to enhance conditions for rare plants, butterflies and birds that inhabit prairie habitat.