Portland Metro Area & Backyard Habitat Certification

The Backyard Habitat Program turns yards wild.
  • Number of Projects:7
  • Acreage: 358
  • Fact: The tallest of Portland’s 290 designated “heritage trees” is (naturally) a Douglas-fir. Located in Macleay Park, it was, at last check, 242 feet tall.
  • Experience: Intimately connected to both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, Oregon's most populace city also happens to be a place where nature still can be found close to home.
  • What We’re Doing: Helping create a unified vision for conserving and caring for land, water, and wildlife throughout the Portland Metro area. Co-managing the Backyard Habitat Program, which helps people grow Willamette Valley native habitats in their own yards.
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The Big Picture

More than 2 million people live in this species-rich area located in the floodplain of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, so caring for the nature that remains is a priority for Columbia Land Trust. Since 2009, our Backyard Habitat Certification Program, co-managed with the Audubon Society, has signed up 3,000 people who are working to re-create some of the native habitat that has been lost to urbanization in their own backyards. We’ve also worked  with partners to develop a Regional Conservation Strategy (Think of it as a master plan that helps us prioritize the conservation and care of the plants, animals, and natural areas.) We also hold numerous easements for Willamette Valley landowners—which will ensure their family’s lands will never be subdivided or developed.

Why It Matters

Portland and its surrounds may be an urban landscape in look and feel, but the natural world has a strong foothold. Coho salmon still spawn. Bald eagles and osprey live near (and in) urban areas. Backyards and parks host migrating songbirds. Protecting people’s quality of life by conserving and enhancing habitat is one of Columbia Land Trust’s priorities. The challenge? With the  population slated to increase significantly in the coming years, we must be able to provide for people while also addressing the needs of native fish, wildlife, and plants.

Featured Story

Going Farther

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program will now be offered in Clackamas County.

  Columbia Land Trust is thrilled to announce the expansion of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program into new cities in Clackamas County. The program is operated jointly by the Land Trust and Audubon Society of Portland. It currently serves all of Multnomah County and only one city in Clackamas County, Lake Oswego. Starting soon, we…

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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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6 Tips for Your Winter Backyard Habitat
How to care for backyard wildlife this winter season.

  The winter months provide us with an opportunity to appreciate the basic elements that make up our gardens, which we take for granted during the flashier seasons of spring, summer, and fall. This is the time of year to learn new plants based on their branching structure, twigs, cones, and bark textures. For example,…

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Outside Looking In
A local mother and son find a home in the outdoors

  Jennifer Horvath was looking for a change when she and her three-year-old son, Alden, moved from Wyoming to Portland last September. She found it. In addition to the rain, she needed time to adjust to a more urban, less familiar environment. Horvath happened across a mention of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program* in a…

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