Elochoman River - Columbia Land Trust

Elochoman River

Forest on the Upper Elochoman River
  • Number of Projects: 4
  • Acreage: 660
  • Fact: Since 1967, this area’s population of Columbian white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus) has been listed as endangered. Its population is estimated at less than 1,000.
  • Experience: Known for its runs of steelhead, the Elochoman River passes through a largely rural and forested landscape before flowing through the sloughs and wetlands that connect the river to the Columbia River Estuary.
  • What We’re Doing: Restoring forests and reconnecting wetlands to the tides. Turning a former poplar plantation into habitat to benefit Columbian white-tailed deer, as well as waterfowl and wetland-loving species.
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The Big Picture

Located in the tidal floodplain of the Columbia River Estuary, the 15-mile-long Elochoman River is known for its runs of steelhead. Once upon a time, this area was defined by Sitka spruce swamps, complex forests, and tidal wetlands—a dynamic, water-rich place filled with wildlife. We began working here in 2004 when we purchased 185 acres along Indian Jack Slough and Nelson Creek. Since then, we’ve been restoring wetlands and forested areas, bringing back the Elochoman River’s native habitat and its wildlife. On Indian Jack Slough, we’re restoring a former poplar plantation for Columbian white-tailed deer, waterfowl, and many other species.

Why It Matters

The Elochoman River provides habitat for many imperiled species in the Northwest, including threatened steelhead, marbled murrelet, and the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. The presence of these species means that the Elochoman area has strong restoration potential. Consider our work on Indian Jack Slough: Egg mass surveys show amphibians—critical indicators of ecosystem health—have returned in great numbers. We’re working to execute new large-scale restorations projects, among them, adding a culvert that will allow juvenile salmon to reach historic rearing habitat.

Photo by Lenkerbrook Photography
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