Backyard Continued - Columbia Land Trust
The Backyard Habitat Certification Program announces its expansion into more area of Clackamas County.


The Backyard Habitat Certification Program, a collaboration between Columbia Land Trust and the Audubon Society of Portland, is embarking on the second phase of its expansion into Clackamas County and we couldn’t be more thrilled! The first phase of expansion, which included Milwaukie, West Linn, Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge, was a huge success, with more than 150 new enrollments in the last year. This second expansion phase will bring Damascus, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Rivergrove, Wilsonville, and some portions of unincorporated Clackamas County into the Backyard Habitat fold. With over 75 people already on the waitlist, it’s looking like this second Clackamas County expansion will be just as successful as the first.

Backyard Habitat is operated jointly by the Land Trust and Audubon Society of Portland, and together we have been expanding the service area throughout the Portland metro region. Currently the program has over 4,500 participants and covers over 1,000 acres. Expansion of the program is important to the Land Trust and is an integral part of our 25-year Conservation Agenda. In addition to protecting larger swaths of land to support the biodiversity of the region, it’s vitally important to consider urban spaces and the potential they have to support wildlife.

With the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, our region is a hub for migrating birds and a large number of species that live here year-round. When thousands of people working to support wildlife in their yards come together with the same goal, they can make a significant impact. While most urban yards will not have elk migrating through their yards (though some do!), the smaller wildlife around us, including pollinators and beneficial insects, are incredibly important to the food chain and to supporting healthy food crops. Our gardening choices, from what weeds we remove or leave, what we choose to plant, the decisions we make around pest control, and what we do to manage stormwater on site, all add up to contribute to the health of the water, soil, and air of our region, which in turn impacts the wildlife that makes our region so unique.

If you live in the new service area and would like to participate, you can enroll at By signing up for the program you’ll receive an in-person site visit, a personalized site report, technical assistance, discounts on native plants, and support from a growing community of backyard participants. We’ll provide you with information on how to make your yard more habitat friendly by planting indigenous plants, installing wildlife features, managing stormwater on site, removing noxious weeds, and eliminating pesticide use. Once your yard reaches one of our certification levels you’ll also receive a friendly certification plaque to reward your hard work and to encourage your neighbors to sign up.

We would like to thank our program partners, including Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation DistrictClackamas County’s Water Environment Services, and Metro for their support as we planned for and are implementing this new chapter for the program.

Susie Peterson
Backyard Habitat Certification Program Manager


Header photo:  From left, Columbia Land Trust’s Backyard Habitat Program Manager Susie Peterson, backyard participants Steve Benson and Lisa Brice, and Audubon Society of Portland’s Backyard Manager Nikkie West. Photo by Kelsey Kuhnhausen at Audubon Society of Portland