Columbia Land Trust buys salmon habitat
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A new purchase of 920 acres along the Columbia River will benefit migrating salmon.
The Columbia Land Trust closed the acquisition of a 920-acre swath of salmon habitat Monday.
The $5.3 million acquisition, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, was heralded Tuesday as the largest purchase of riverside habitat in the Columbia River estuary in 40 years.
The land trust now owns the Columbia Stock Ranch near Goble and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will spend the next few years restoring hundreds of acres of wetlands to accommodate migrating salmon.
"The size and ecological importance of this habitat set a new benchmark for habitat protection and is a key piece in an extensive fish refuge system in the lower Columbia River,” said Glenn Lamb, executive director of the Columbia Land Trust in a statement.
"The estuary is a particularly vital nursery for young salmon, and this project is the best demonstration yet of conserving and restoring the lands that make the estuary so valuable," Lamb said.
Federal agencies are responsible for mitigating the impacts of federal hydrolectric dams on salmon as outlined by NOAA Fisheries' Biological Opinion. The mitigation includes new technology ensuring more fish pass dams safely and habitat restoration, with increasing focus on the estuary below Bonneville Dam.
Officials say the habitat restoration will benefit salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, in addition to wildlife including black bear, elk and river otter.
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