Wolf Haven International

Prairie Restoration

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, urbanized areas in the United States have doubled since the 1970's, leading to a loss of about 20 million acres. The Sierra Club reports that an astounding 400,000 acres of rural land are being bulldozed every year to make way for housing subdivisions and shopping malls. Wolf Haven Intl. is currently working with The Center for Natural Lands Management to restore the over 36 acres of prairie and Mima mound habitat back to its former condition. This habitat has already been eliminated in most of its former range with only 3% remaining. Of this 3% less than half is currently in a protected status.

Systematic Burning of Prairie

Tuber, seed plants and medicinal plants all germinate after a fire. Throughout history, Native American tribes used burning techniques on prairies to encourage growth and productivity of flowering plants. Burning replenishes nutrients and ash that support growth of certain plants like the camas lily, whose root was harvested in large quantities and was a staple of the Native American diet.

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Restoration of Wolf Haven's prairie includes, working hard to control invasive plants such as scotch broom and invasive grasses such as Tall Oat Grass. Tribal burning ceased in the 1800's, and forest trees and shrubs started to creep onto the prairies of this region. Without fire, the process known as ecological succession takes place, allowing woody plants to establish. In time, the shrubs and tree seedlings become a young forest shading out native prairie plant species. Conifers like the Douglas Fir are actually considered an invasive species on the prairie.

Planting on Prairie
Wolf Haven staff and volunteers work along with The Nature Conservancy to plant the federally endangered Golden paintbrush on the prairie

Golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) is a perennial member of the Scrophulariaceae plant family that is endemic to the Pacific Northwest in western British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The species is currently considered extirpated from Oregon. Paintbrush species are hemi-parasites, meaning their roots attach to the roots of other plants and draw resources from them. Golden paintbrush is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Endangered. In Fall, 2007, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wolf Haven International planted over 800 seedlings of the golden paintbrush on our Mima mound prairie. Wolf Haven's prairie was chosen along with six other remnant native prairies in western Washington as an introduction site for recovery of this extremely rare and beautiful native plant.

Taylor's checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) is a colorful and endangered prairie butterfly.


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