Phase 2 of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program kicked off on a sun-filled morning, Monday, April 23, 2018, in Wilsonville. This expansion of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program will bring highly desired services to several more cities in urban Clackamas County. Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Assistant Manager Lisa Kilders joined a group of partnering organizations as they toured the yard of Lisa Brice and Steve Benson, Chair of the Wilsonville Parks Board to complete the first certification of the expanded program.
More about the program
The Backyard Habitat Certification Program is a partnership between Columbia Land Trust and Audubon Society Portland. The Phase 2 expansion will include the cities of Damascus, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Rivergrove, and Wilsonville. This program provides technical assistance, advice, and incentives to those who want to improve wildlife habitat in their yards, control noxious weeds, manage stormwater onsite, and garden naturally.
Susie Peterson, Backyard Habitat Program Manager for Columbia Land Trust explains, “Our region has an incredible amount of ecological diversity. As our region’s population grows, we aim to support that diversity by encouraging individuals to consider what they can do in their own yards that will make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Simple acts like removing noxious weeds, using natural pest control methods instead of pesticides, and planting indigenous plants can make a huge difference. Backyard Habitat provides every participant with the tools and resources they will need to take steps like these.”
Who may participate?
The program is open to private residences (under one acre), as well as to schools, community groups, public institutions, and businesses. For $35, a Habitat Technician will visit the participant’s yard to identify noxious weeds and suggest beneficial native plants and other features that will attract and support birds and other wildlife. Recommendations are tailored to each participant’s yard and interests. Participants also receive other perks such as discounted prices on native plants, coupons to local garden centers, follow-up technical assistance, and certification signs to display in their yard.
How does this benefit wildlife?
“Just one yard may not seem like much when it comes to protecting habitat, but there are more than 4,500 urban and suburban yards in this program, and together they make a real difference for our region’s wildlife,” said Nikkie West, Backyard Habitat Program Manager for the Audubon Society of Portland. “Through this program, every yard and every gardener can play a meaningful role in revitalizing our region for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.”
What about other properties?
The program also aims to restore larger properties, such as schools and churches, in coordination with the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD). “Clackamas Soil Water Conservation District is very pleased to support the Backyard Habitat Certification Program,” said Tom Salzer, General Manager of the CSWCD. “This program provides consistent service to our urban constituents that benefit wildlife, homeowners, and the community. It is a tremendous addition to Clackamas County!”
Partners are excited!
“It is really exciting to see the Backyard Habitat Certification Program’s expansion into Clackamas County. Their efforts to promote native and non-invasive, wildlife-friendly landscapes in our urban areas closely match our existing goals and efforts,” said Sam Leininger, CSWCD WeedWise Program Manager. “This expansion of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program provides an additional resource for our urban landowners to take tangible steps to promote wildlife habitat on their properties.”
Several of the cities included in this expansion fall under Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES). “We are thrilled to support the Backyard Habitat Certification Program because it furthers our efforts to improve watershed health. The program helps homeowners find ways to make a difference right where they live by reducing the use of pesticides, replacing invasive plants with natives, and by managing on-site rainwater to benefit their gardens and community,” said Gail Shaloum, Technical Services Coordinator at WES.
Want to Participate?
To enroll or learn more, please visit the Backyard Habitat Certification Program website. Residents and groups with yards under one acre may start registering for the program immediately.
This program is made possible with assistance from the following organizations: Columbia Land Trust, Audubon Society of Portland, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation Distirct, and Clackamas County Water Environment Services.