Backyard Habitat Certification Program expands into more county neighborhoods

From: Gari Johnson, Clackamas County Water Environment Services, 503-742-4631

Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES), the Columbia Land Trust, Audubon Society of Portland, and Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District have expanded the Backyard Habitat Certification Program into neighborhoods within Damascus, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Rivergrove and Wilsonville. 

Private homeowners and community groups or organizations in these areas with yards under one acre can sign up for the Backyard Habitat Certification Program immediately at https://backyardhabitats.org/apply/.

The program provides technical assistance, advice, and incentives to residents who want to improve wildlife habitat in their yards, control invasive weeds, utilize their rainwater, and garden naturally.

“WES supports the Backyard Habitat Certification Program because it furthers our efforts to improve watershed health,” said Gail Shaloum, Technical Services Coordinator for WES. “The program helps homeowners find ways to make a difference right where they live by reducing use of pesticides, replacing invasive plants with natives, and by managing stormwater on-site,” 

To learn more about the program and help to inform the public, media are invited to attend an Earth Day celebratory event of the expansion on Monday, April 23 at 10 a.m. at 8525 SW Wilson Lane in Wilsonville. 

Columbia Land Trust and Audubon Society of Portland have co-managed the Backyard Habitat Certification Program since 2009. The program began in the city of Portland, then expanded into Lake Oswego in 2011, and into Gresham and Fairview in 2015. Over 4,500 yards are enrolled in the program. It fosters environmental stewardship by empowering participants to become urban conservationists and to preserve important wildlife habitat.

Expansion of this program into Clackamas County was made possible through support from Columbia Land Trust, Audubon Society of Portland, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, and a WES RiverHealth Stewardship Program grant to support watershed restoration, education, and stewardship activities. 

For more information, members of the media and public may contact WES’ Gari Johnson at gjohnson2@clackamas.us or 503-742-4631.