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.

Featured Story

Our Winter 2018 Fieldbook is now out!

This issue centers our relationships with people, place, and purpose.

Our last Fieldbook of 2018 is now out! This issue, we take a few pages to explore the Land Trust’s relationship with place, people, and purpose and see how all of this impacts our goal of protecting our vital Northwest landscape. Communications Director Jay Kosa takes us on an underwater exploration of a Land Trust built…

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Updates from the Field
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Adidas Pitches In
In August, a group of eight volunteer from adidas helped pick up trash along the Elochoman River

On an unseasonably cool summer Thursday, a group of eight Adidas employees took a break from the office to help Columbia Land Trust clean up trash along the Elochoman River in Wahkiakum County, WA. When it was all said and done, the group learned a bit about the Land Trust’s restoration work along the river…

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Coastal Conservation Roundup
Columbia Land Trust kicked off 2019 with some early conservation successes along the Columbia River Estuary.

By Jay Kosa Since the 1880s, more than half the floodplain of the lower Columbia River has been converted to agricultural, residential, or other human uses. Today, habitat loss threatens a number of fish and wildlife species. Columbia Land Trust, in response, is conserving key remaining strongholds of forest and wetland habitat and restoring the…

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Drifting Through the Elochoman River
An underwater exploration of newly improved salmon habitat on the Elochoman River

By Jay Kosa On a damp late-October morning, I found myself standing thigh deep in the Elochoman River north of Cathlamet, Washington. Rain dripped from moss-covered branches as I yanked on my dry suit’s tight neoprene hood, adjusted my mask and snorkel, and delved beneath the surface. The current was stronger than I expected, but…

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