Willapa Bay & Long Beach Peninsula

Kayaking Island Lake Forest
  • Number of Projects:9
  • Acreage: 1615
  • Fact: The green sturgeon of Willapa Bay are among the largest cartilaginous fish in the world, reaching seven feet in length and weighing up to 350 pounds.
  • Experience: Beaches, sand dunes, marshes, lakes, and old-growth forests all come together to create a coastal wonderland for wildlife and the people who call this Pacific haven home.
  • What We’re Doing: Conserving and caring for coastal dunes, forests, wetlands, streams, riverfront, and bayfront land. Protecting the drinking water supply by conserving the freshwater wetlands that help groundwater recharge and stay clean.

Contact Us About This Project

The Big Picture

Encompassing more than 260 square miles , Willapa Bay is the second-largest estuary on the Pacific Coast and is very much a Northwest treasure. Columbia Land Trust conserved its first property on Long Beach Peninsula in 2001—a small property around Hines Marsh, a 900-acre wetland often billed as the largest “interdunal wetland” on the West Coast. Conserving lands that protect drinking water, wildlife areas, and rare habitats motivate our work here.

Why It Matters

Thanks to low population density and a lack of industrial development, wildlife still thrives on the Long Beach Peninsula and in Willapa Bay. More than 100,000 shorebirds rest and feed during the spring migration; five salmon species pass through the bay en route to natal rivers on the east side of the bay; green and white sturgeon, those bizarrely prehistoric fish, find refuge in the bay itself. The waters of Willapa Bay are relatively pristine, but pristine doesn’t mean unchanged of course. Invasive species, such as spartina, are a constant threat to area waters. By protecting freshwater wetlands, we’re not only protecting wildlife habitat, but also the peninsula’s drinking water, essential to local economies and human health.

A view across newly conserved forested wetlands to Baker Bay, WA
Featured Story

In the Thick of It

The land trust conserves more forested wetland habitat along the small but mighty Chinook River.

This month, Columbia Land Trust expanded an area of conserved forests and wetlands in the Chinook River floodplain near Baker Bay in Pacific County, Washington. In some parts of the floodplain, the trees and shrubs are so dense, and the wetlands are so soggy that it’s nearly impossible to explore on foot. Sitka spruces, found…

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Updates from the Field
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Coastal Conservation Roundup
Columbia Land Trust kicked off 2019 with some early conservation successes along the Columbia River Estuary.

By Jay Kosa Since the 1880s, more than half the floodplain of the lower Columbia River has been converted to agricultural, residential, or other human uses. Today, habitat loss threatens a number of fish and wildlife species. Columbia Land Trust, in response, is conserving key remaining strongholds of forest and wetland habitat and restoring the…

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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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Give More (24!) on 9/20
Join us Thursday, September 20th, as we kick off year 2 of our fearless campaign with a day of giving in Southwest Washington.

  Columbia Land Trust has deep roots in Southwest Washington and Clark County. While today we work in 14 counties on both the Washinton and Oregon sides of the river, we were born from a desire to conserve land in Southwest Washington that was being developed at an alarming rate. Today, we’re experiencing an all-too-familiar sense…

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