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.
Contact Us About This Project

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.

Illumination rock, Mt Hood - Brian Chambers Photography
Featured Story

4th Annual Habitap 2018

Join us for our 4th Annual Habitap event and celebrate the spirit of Fearless Nature!

As Northwesterners, we find adventure in every season. It’s been a warm winter, but cold, rainy days in the city usually mean powder on the mountain, and a snow-dusted Columbia River Gorge invites winter waterfowl, wildlife, and people looking to explore. Morning walks are growing slightly brighter, and tiny buds forming on plants invite us…

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Updates from the Field
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Ahead of the Game
Lacamas Lake project in Camas, WA will protect 100 acres of land and brings a future of trails and recreational opportunities.

In the Northwest, it’s easy to take green spaces close to our metro regions for granted, assuming the fields, forests, rivers, and lakes we’ve come to know will always be there. But in Southwest Washington, a quickening rate of development poses immediate threats to cherished natural areas. Clark County clocked in as the fifth-most populous county…

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Fieldbook Digs In
Our final edition of Fieldbook rounds out 2017 with stories from the field.

Cozy up this winter with a fresh copy of our final issue of Fieldbook this year. Learn about important fossil discoveries in the Columbia River Estuary, look at how community groups are embracing the Backyard Habitat Certification Program as a tool for community building, and read about recent conservation successes in Trout Lake and the Long…

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Beyond the Backyard
Portland communities are making more time and space for nature.

  One might assume that the Backyard Habitat Certification Program is possible only for those who own or rent a home with land, or those who have ample time to garden, but the program has encouraged schools, churches, community centers, and other organizations to restore urban areas beneficial to both people and wildlife. Since the…

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