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.

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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Trees of Life
When it comes to wildlife, trees can be worth more dead than alive.

Guest post by arborist Brian French As a community, we have the ability to support wildlife throughout our region. Landowners, in particular, hold a unique opportunity to steward local flora and fauna. By changing how we manage trees in our landscape, we can help tend to the needs of an array of wildlife known as…

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Our Spring Fieldbook Is Full of New Life
What does it mean to have a place? We explore this and more in our latest issue.

Growth, change, and new ways of life — welcome to our Spring issue of Fieldbook. This issue, we hear stories of what it means to have a place, and take a look at what our places look like — from tiny homes, to rock walls, to trees both dead and alive — our diverse places…

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Volunteer for the Backyard Habitat Spring Native Plant Sale
Help kick off the spring planting season by volunteering at our annual spring native plant sale.

Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th (see shifts and roles below) Echo Valley Nursery, Oregon City, OR UPDATE (4/3/2019): We are still seeking volunteers to support parking and plant loading. All other shifts have been filled.  Would you like to volunteer at the Backyard Habitat Certification Program’s native plant sale? This sale happens twice…

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