Fostering Environmental Education - Columbia Land Trust
Columbia Land Trust transfers 82 acres on Astoria’s South Tongue Point to Clatsop Community College

Following several years of project development, Columbia Land Trust acquired and immediately transferred 82 acres of land on the lower Columbia River to Clatsop Community College (CCC). The property is adjacent to where the college’s Marine and Environmental Research Training Station (MERTS) campus sits and will preserve critical habitat for salmon and other wildlife, while being used as a living laboratory by students.

The riverfront parcel provides one of the last feeding opportunities for juvenile salmon migrating downriver before they enter the open ocean. The college, Columbia Land Trust, and the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) are partnering to restore this crucial habitat, which will also provide a place for community college students to observe and monitor ecological processes in real time.

“We are very excited that Clatsop Community College students will have the opportunity to get real-world experience in environmental science and we look forward to being good stewards of this critical habitat,” said CCC President Chris Breitmeyer. “Students will be able to use the space to collect data, do hands-on research projects, and gain knowledge and skills necessary to work in a variety of fields.”

Breitmeyer estimates that up to 30 students will use the outdoor classroom each term, and the college hopes to increase that number as they develop more courses specifically to utilize the site.

“South Tongue Point is a unique opportunity to create a valuable resource that benefits both students and fish,” said CREST Project Manager Tracy Hruska, explaining how the planned restoration work will create feeding stations for migrating salmon, to increase their chances of survival.

“It is very exciting to see this project come to fruition,” said Land Trust Conservation Lead Lydia Mendoza. “We are thrilled that this habitat for juvenile salmonids will be forever protected and will serve as a resource for students.”

After years of work, the local community is celebrating the collaboration that made the purchase and transfer of this property possible. “This partnership is an excellent example of a community- based project that draws on the strengths of each organization to build something greater than we could do alone,” said CREST Director Denise Löfman.

“Without the Land Trust and our other partners this wouldn’t have happened,” said Breitmeyer. “We all came together to preserve critical habitat and create a space where students and the community at large can learn about the unique Columbia River ecosystem.”

The project was funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as funds raised by Columbia Land Trust from the Adams Foundation, Wildlife Forever Fund, and individual donors.

View the press release.