The Neighborhood Ecoregion virtual tour

Nestled between the Coast and Cascade Ranges, these fertile valleys are home to more than two million people, who enjoy the parks and green spaces crucial to wildlife.

With rapidly growing populations in the Portland and Vancouver metro areas, this region faces the threat of habitat loss, land use changes, and increased demands on natural resources.

In response, Columbia Land Trust aims to conserve areas vital to migrating wildlife, help provide equitable access to nature and natural resources in this urban landscape, create strong partnerships between agriculture and conservation communities, and facilitate meaningful opportunities for people to connect with nature.

First Stop: Columbia Stock Ranch

This 247 acre property in Columbia County, OR was a working ranch for cattle until we began the first phase of restoration work in 2019.

The first phase of restoration removed over a mile of dilapidated fences and mulched nearly 20 acres of blackberries. Additionally, 30 acres of the floodplain were mowed to prepare for the planting of 63,000 native trees and shrubs.

Ultimately this piece of land situated on the banks of the Columbia River will be the new home for 30-50 white-tailed deer translated to the property from the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife refuge in an effort to help establish another subpopulation within the deer’s historic range along the lowlands of the Columbia River Estuary.

Columbia Land Trust is working with Wisdom of the Elders on stewardship work at Columbia Stock Ranch by mowing and installing fencing.

Stop two: east fort lewis river greenway

Our next stop is the East Fork Lewis River, which flows west from Gifford Pinchot National Forest through central Clark County, is beloved by area naturalists, anglers, and recreationists alike.

Clark County Map of the Greenway

For 25 years, Columbia Land Trust has partnered with Clark County and other community partners to conserve more than 2,000 acres along the greenway.

The habitat surrounding the river home to the small-flowered trillium or wake robin, a relatively unique plant specifies that is sensitive to habitat disturbance. This unassuming perennial grows along the moist, shaded banks of the river and support native pollinators like bees.

Currently, the Land Trust is in the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement on roughly 43 acres of recreation and forest land to extend the Clark County East Fork Lewis River Greenway. This acquisition will help prevent subdivision and residential development as well as ensure access from visitors across the region.

Stop three: Cranes' Landing

Since 2016, Columbia Land Trust has been managing 527 acres in the Vancouver Lake Lowlands to farm experimental food sources for large flocks of sandhill cranes.

Grab your binoculars! Each winter from November to early March thousands of sandhill cranes fly in from their roosting sites at Sauvie Island and Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge to feed on the crops of corn, alfalfa, sorghum, and more.

We also see thousands of snow and Canada geese, as well as raptors, coyotes, amphibians, pollinators, and Columbian white-tailed deer. Check out the video above to view some fantastic shots captured by a wildlife camera set up by Dan Friesz, our natural area manager who oversees the work being done at Cranes' Landing.

Columbia Land Trust and Wisdom of the Elders are collaborating on stewardship work at Cranes' Landing by installing fencing, clearing areas, and setting up beehives for native pollinators.

Bees are this region’s primary pollinators as the temperate Pacific Northwest climate makes for their perfect home. Nearly 85% of all plants on earth require pollinators to reproduce, so it is crucial we protect our bees and give them the support they need. The beehives set up at Cranes' Landing will provide pollinators with a home free from insecticide, herbicide, habitat loss, and unpredictable climate.

Since acquiring this property, the Land Trust has constructed 12 acres total of screening berms that will be planted with nearly 14,500 native trees and shrubs to create a privacy and sound barrier for sandhill cranes, who are spooked easily.

In November, Columbia Land Trust hosts a Coffee with Cranes outing so you can view and learn about this property and the iconic sandhill cranes in person. Be sure to check back at our events and tours page for details.

Our Last Stop: Backyard Habitat Certification Program

Columbia Land Trust has co-managed the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP) with the Portland Audubon since 2009. This program supports urban gardeners in their efforts to create natural native habitat in their backyards.

Since its start, participants have enrolled 5,250 properties in the Portland and Vancouver metro area, a collective total of 1,400 acres.

Creating a native backyard habitat helps provide a network of native habitat across the metro area that will allow pollinators, resident and migrating birds, and other wildlife to move across the landscape.

Joining BHCP will provides participants with technical assistance, financial incentives, encouragement and recognition to those that aim to create a natural, low-maintenance gardens that support people, native wildlife, and ultimately the planet. Learn more about how the process works!

Thanks for joining us!

This concludes our virtual tour of the Willamette Valley & Puget Trough ecoregion. We hope you had a great time! Be sure to take a stretch, eat some lunch, and gear up for our next stop, The Gorge.

Created By
Columbia Land Trust