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.

Signal Crayfish, photo by Helen Gavrilov
Featured Story

In the Field: Crayfish Sampling

Join our staff as they sample stream beds for crayfish and mussels in the headwaters of the Washougal River

They’re not always top of mind when we think about wildlife, but invertebrates often have much to tell us about the condition of the lands and waters they call home. On a warm July evening, Columbia Land Trust intern Gabe León arrived at the Wildboy Creek conservation area to install crayfish traps. Just before sunset,…

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Updates from the Field
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Ecoregional Tour: The Coast
Join us for an immerisve look at our work in the Coast Range & Estuaries

The mouth of the Columbia River and the surrounding land hold some of the most fascinating landscapes you’ll ever see! Rivers, estuaries, coastal dunes, and old-growth forests blend together to support wildlife along with local fishing, forestry, and recreation industries.  Virtual Tour Take a virtual tour of The Coast today to learn how we are…

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2020 Summer Camping Resources
A guide to camping safely around the Northwest this summer

Camping is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family while experiencing the great outdoors up close. Camping can also be a great activity and a resource for self-reflection, stress relief, and connecting with nature. As we continue to navigate a global pandemic, we want to support you in engaging in outdoor…

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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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