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.

Before & After Restoration on the Upper Elochoman River
Featured Story

River Wrap

Newly completed floodplain restoration along Washington’s Upper Elochoman River will benefit threatened fish species and other wildlife.

The summer’s end here at Columbia Land Trust signals the wrap of a few big restoration projects, including our Upper Elochoman River In-Stream Enhancement Project. The restoration work improved important freshwater fish and salmon habitat and restored upland forests beneficial to struggling marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl. Nearly five years after the project began,…

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Updates from the Field
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2016 in Review
Ten ways you made a difference for the nature of the northwest in 2016.

It wasn’t always easy (meaningful conservation rarely is), but with your support, we were able to protect and restore important places throughout the Columbia River region while building strong relationships along the way. From the remote forests of Klickitat Canyon to backyard habitats in urban neighborhoods, take a look back at some of our greatest accomplishments…

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At Indian Jack Slough, New Homes for Purple Martins

We’re welcoming purple martins to Indian Jack Slough! This spring Columbia Land Trust and Willapa Hills Audubon teamed up to install two purple martins colonies onsite. Akin to the condominium of bird houses, each colony contains 18 dangling gourds that can hold up to 18 nesting pairs and their chicks. Purple martins, the largest of…

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Stand Tall
Along the Elochoman River, we're transforming a tree farm into what it once was: a wild forest teeming with life.

A couple of years ago, Columbia Land Trust bought a 150-acre-piece of forested property along the upper reaches of the Elochoman River, a small Columbia River tributary near the town of Cathlamet. Like many forested areas here, the land had been logged in 40-to-60-year rotations and replanted with Douglas-fir and hemlock: it’s a tree plantation…

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