Portland Metro Area & Backyard Habitat Certification - Columbia Land Trust

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 populous 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 Bird Alliance of Oregon, has enrolled over 10,000 participants who are working to re-create 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

Celebrating 10,000 Backyard Habitats!

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program surpasses a major milestone

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program has surpassed 10,000 participants and we are thrilled to celebrate this incredible milestone for the program, which is co-sponsored by the Bird Alliance of Oregon (formerly Portland Audubon) and Columbia Land Trust. The program was created 15 years ago, and now operates in four counties (Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties…

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Updates from the Field
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The People Behind the Backyard Habitat Certification Program
Helping Urban and Suburban Gardeners Create Natural Habitats for Wildlife

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP), co-managed by the Bird Alliance of Oregon (formerly Portland Audubon) and Columbia Land Trust, enrolled 1,645 new yards or greenspaces in 2021 and now has nearly 9,000 participants across four counties: Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. Together these community members care for…

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[Virtual Event] Hosting Mason Bees
Native, non-stinging mason bees can be your yard's most effective pollinators. Get ready for spring by joining us to learn all about mason bees!

Registration for this event is closed. We will post a recording of the live event once it’s available.  Did you know that mason bees pollinate 95% of the flowers they land on? This spring, you can join Land Trust Board Member, and our resident mason bee expert, Janet Gifford as she shares her expertise on…

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The Muse: An Owl’s Call
A message from Executive Director Glenn Lamb

One night in mid-September, appreciating the absence of wildfire smoke, we had our doors and windows open. And for the first time in our decades living in inner southeast Portland, we heard a western screech owl. Our most common neighborhood birds are crow, robin, junco, goldfinch, house finch, scrub jay, house sparrow, song sparrow, hummingbird,…

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