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.

Cleveland High School 'Weekend Warriors' and students.
Featured Story

Metro and Cleveland High School Get Backyard Habitat Certified

Gaylen Beatty pays her BHCP knowledge and experience forward.

Special Projects Manager for Metro’s Parks and Nature Department, Gaylen Beatty has been hard at work over the past few years bringing her knowledge and expertise with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP) to two places she spends plenty of time at, her job and her daughter’s school. No stranger to the program, Beatty served…

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Updates from the Field
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The Backyard Habitat Certification Program Has A Record-breaking Year
High enrollment and a 2019 expansion into Washington and Clark counties is keeping the BHCP on its toes.

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program wrapped up a highly successful 2018! The year boasted a new record number of yards enrolled in the program, a high volume of native plants sold at its wildly popular plant sales, a generous amount of volunteer hours donated, and much more. We’re so thrilled to see this programs growth…

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Vibrant Spaces, Healthier Places
The Backyard Habitat Certification Program joins APANO in blending art, nature, and health in Southeast Portland’s Jade and Midway Districts.

By Jay Kosa On a sunny Saturday in November, Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP)* staff were excited and honored to join the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) in transforming two pedestrian bridges over SE Division Street in Portland’s Jade and Midway Districts. APANO, a grassroots organization uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social…

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A Call for Climate Action
The Land Trust is endorsing climate action proposals, including two initiatives on ballots in Washington and Portland.

Since its inception in 1990, Columbia Land Trust has been dedicated to conserving and caring for the lands, waters, and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships. Given our focus on voluntary, private conservation solutions with willing landowners, we’ve historically refrained from advocating publicly for issues unless they were directly…

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