South Tongue Point Potential
Clatsop Community College aims to create an estuarine classroom.

Just east of Astoria, Oregon, a community college is aiming to buy some of the most critical estuarine wetland habitat in the lower Columbia River Estuary. South Tongue Point provides crucial tidal habitat for salmon to acclimate before heading to the ocean, as well as habitat for other wildlife. With the help of Columbia Land Trust and the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce, Clatsop Community College is exploring opportunities to restore the crucial estuarian habitat while creating a living classroom for environmental research and education.

The college is looking to buy 7 acres where its Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS) campus currently sits. In addition, Columba Land Trust and the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce would assist the college in securing funds to buy more than 100 acres of property and restore the tidal wetlands. The partners would work together to remove invasive species, plant natives, and move dredge spoils to create better habitat for wildlife, including the 13 species of salmon and steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The project is still in an exploratory phase, but the Land Trust is optimistic that South Tongue Point will become a site for collaboration, conservation, and environmental education. Land Trust coastal conservation manager, Nadia Gardner, weighed in on the project in The Daily Astorian.