The Palouse Prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. With just half a percent of its original extent remaining, this ecosystem's remaining patches are barely surviving in a sea of agriculture. Conserving remnant habitat is not enough; restoring prairie is required to save the plants, animals, and people who call the Palouse home. The Phoenix Conservancy has been restoring Palouse Prairie since 2016.
The Palouse Prairie once covered much of southeastern Washington and adjacent parts of Idaho. In the late 1800s, European settlers converted vast swaths of prairie to farmland. While agriculture dramatically grew the local economy, it also forced out indigenous peoples and reduced native habitat. Today, only small fragments of the Palouse remain, many of which are degraded by invasive species and overgrazing. However, the Palouse Prairie still contains a wonderful diversity of flora and fauna.
Less than 0.5% of the Palouse Prairie remains today. Restoring this endangered ecosystem prevents more species from going extinct and supports local communities by providing ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, erosion control, fire mitigation, crop pollination, and healthy green spaces. We work with the land owners, organizations, and businesses to conserve native prairie habitat, bringing people together to make our community more resilient and beautiful.
We tackle restoration from multiple avenues, including restoring public parks, offering native landscaping services for homeowners and businesses, and invasive weed removal. Our team uses science-based methods to control invasives, establish and enhance native plant communities, and monitor restoration progress. We strongly believe in finding balance and allyship between native prairie restoration, agricultural land use, and human habitation.
We work with a diverse array of community members, including homeowners, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. We are also proud to be partnering with a variety of other local and regional non-profits, educational institutions (Washington State University and the University of Idaho), and tribal and government agencies. Our work in Palouse Prairie not only supports our local communities but depends on them for success.
We have made amazing progress in Palouse Prairie restoration. Our team has removed vast amounts of invasive weeds in Conservation Park and Missouri Flat Creek. Our greenhouse operation has grown rapidly with over sixty locally-adapted native species. We have also had incredible success with our Pocket Prairies landscaping program, successfully establishing over twenty Pocket Prairies with dozens of pollinator species (like the endangered western Monarch) for local homeowners and businesses.
We will continue restoration efforts at our Conservation Park and Missouri Flat Creek sites. In addition to our full scale Pocket Prairies, we are excited to offer community members an easy, low-cost option to restore a little piece of the Palouse on their property with our new Micro-Prairies program. We are actively collaborating with farmers, ranchers, and First Nations to control invasive weeds, provide habitat for native biocontrol agents, and enhance crop pollination services.
HOW TO HELP
As a growing non-profit, one of the best ways you can help is to make a donation, no matter how small. If you’re not in a position to donate and you live in the Pullman-Moscow area, you can give back by signing up to volunteer with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also accept donations of native seeds! You can support us remotely by spreading the word and following us on social media. Our team can’t thank you enough for your support!
Take a look at the Palouse Prairie and the work we do.