Columbia River–The Lower 80 - Columbia Land Trust

Columbia River–The Lower 80

Excavated channels on Kerry Island
  • Number of Projects:12
  • Acreage: 2177
  • Fact: In the 1880s, there were 39 canneries along the Columbia River; the last major cannery closed in 1980.
  • Experience: The Columbia River is the lifeline of the Northwest, a natural resource that supports our communities, our economies, our wildlife, and our way of life.
  • What We’re Doing: Restoring Columbia River islands, shores, and floodplain to provide healthy, complex habitat for birds, wildlife, and federally threatened runs of Columbia River salmon.
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The Big Picture

The Columbia River is one of the great rivers of America. Its islands, shores, tributaries, and floodplain support the habitat, the wildlife, and land-connected livelihoods that define the Northwest. Columbia Land Trust now cares for some 2,200 of land in and alongside its shores; these are places where we can reconnect the land with the tides, re-grow native trees and plants, and set the stage for nature to regenerate.

Why It Matters

The lower reaches of the river and its many tributaries provide essential habitat for 13 Columbia River salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act, as well as the many Northwest mammals and birds that need well-functioning habitat to thrive. The last 150 years, however, have brought radical changes to our iconic northwestern river: With dams controlling its flow, the river has what “altered hydrologic regime.” Shoreline development, water-quality degradation, invasive species, and floodplain disconnection further affect the Columbia River’s health. One of our marquis projects? In 2012, we acquired 960 acres directly next to the river; one day, this floodplain-turned-cattle operation will become floodplain again—a land transformation that will have big benefits for the health of the river and the wildlife that depends on it.

The Curtis Hill Forestry crew at work
Featured Story

Jump-Starting a Coastal Forest

The Land Trust is improving habitat and contributing to a green economy through piloting restoration forest on the coast

Ask a Pacific Northwest timber crew to cut Douglas-fir first and leave spruce, hemlock, and alder standing, and you’re bound to get some quizzical looks. That was the case last October for Austin Tomlinson, Columbia Land Trust’s land steward on the coast, when he described the plan for a forest along the east edge of Willapa Bay. Tomlinson was standing on 100 acres of forest that the…

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Updates from the Field
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Answers in the Trees
Understanding the role of Northwest forests in tackling climate change

More and more, we’re reading about how trees can be a solution to climate change. (We wrote about it in the previous issue of Fieldbook, in fact.) The topic has generated a number of questions about what trees can do, what they can’t do, and how we can best go about working with forests as a climate solution strategy. To answer these questions, let’s start with the…

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A Day With the Green Jobs Interns
A day in the field, talking restoration with four new Green Jobs interns

On a cold coastal Friday morning, Columbia Land Trust stewards and four Green Jobs interns with the Forest Park Conservancy (FPC) filed out of their trucks along the Walluski River on the outskirts of Astoria, Oregon. The Green Jobs interns, Ahmed Yusuf, Jonathan Albarran, Joseph Justice, and Selena Gutierrez stepped into waders eager to spend…

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Nature Knows Best
Natural climate solutions represent a key strategy to combat climate change

If you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you care about the environment (thank you). It’s also a safe bet that in the process of staying informed about the challenges of pollution, habitat loss, and global climate change, you’ve recently found yourself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer gravity of it all. It seems as…

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