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 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

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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Updates from the Field
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Cranes, Cows, and Crops
Columbia Land Trust works with a local dairy to harvest crops in the Vancouver Lake Lowlands while preparing for the arrival of sandhill cranes

As the crisp fall season makes its way through the Northwest, Columbia Land Trust prepares for the arrival of an abundance of sandhill cranes to its experimental farmed crops in the Vancouver Lake Lowlands, a site also known as Cranes’ Landing. The Land Trust has been farming the property every year since the Port of Vancouver donated the 527-acre property in…

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Ecoregional Tour: The Neighborhood
We’re taking a deeper dive into the Willamette Valley & Puget Trough ecoregion!

Nestled between the Coast and the Cascade Mountain Ranges, these fertile valleys are home to more than 2 million people and also provide vital habitat for native wildlife. The sprawling urban areas of the Portland and Vancouver metro intersect with natural green spaces and parks, providing access to nature for both wildlife and people alike.…

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2020 Summer Camping Resources
A guide to camping safely around the Northwest this summer

Camping is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family while experiencing the great outdoors up close. Camping can also be a great activity and a resource for self-reflection, stress relief, and connecting with nature. As we continue to navigate a global pandemic, we want to support you in engaging in outdoor…

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