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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Lower Columbia River Estuary (NEP Profile)

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Summary Information

Year Established: 1995
Location: Washington, Oregon
Area of Watershed: 614,771 square kilometers

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Overviews and Highlights

The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership continues to implement its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Lower Columbia River. The Management Plan, completed in 1999, contains 43 specific actions designed to protect and restore the lower Columbia River. The actions are broadly grouped into three categories - Actions 1-12 address habitat and land use; Actions 13-28 address education and management; Actions 29-43 address conventional and toxic pollutants.

Within those program areas, the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership implements a variety of programs and projects, including:

Education: During the school year, Estuary Partnership staff conducts hundreds of class visits, field trips, and on-river education programs. The Partnership established a Kids for the Columbia Club and a special Kids Club web site and newsletter. The Partnership also produces an annual Kids Club Calendar, activity and coloring books, and a day long Family Festival.

Habitat Mapping: The Estuary Partnership conducted an innovative habitat mapping project utilizing satellite and hyperspectral imagery in combination with on-the-ground volunteers. The mapping project is yielding extensive, highly detailed habitat data necessary to scientifically prioritize conservation and restoration efforts.

Volunteer Monitoring: The Estuary Partnership's annual Volunteer Monitoring event draws nearly 600 people out to the lower Columbia River to monitor temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and other water quality parameters.

Species Recovery: The Estuary Partnership is actively engaged in endangered species recovery planning. The Partnership established an Endangered Species Act Committee to coordinate recovery planning on the lower Columbia River and is the lead entity for the lower Columbia River and estuary in a region-wide sub basin planning processes.

Other ongoing Estuary Partnership activities include coordinating development of a Lower Columbia River Water Trail, conducting an annual $50,000 mini grant program for on-the-ground local projects, working with communities to address stormwater management, coordinating volunteer clean ups and riparian plantings, developing habitat restoration criteria, presenting a series of annual stewardship awards, and securing on-going ambient water quality monitoring at three sites.

The lower Columbia River and estuary is one of the nation's premier natural resources. By focusing on the entire ecosystem, building capacity of partners, leveraging resources, and focusing on collaboration and coordination, the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership works to restore and protect the lower Columbia River and estuary for residents of the region, nation, and river.

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