Mission & Accomplishments

The mission of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership is to improve the lower Columbia River by protecting and restoring ecosystems and enhancing clean water for current and future generations of fish, wildlife, and people.

Since 2000, we have been working to protect and restore the lower Columbia. Here is a look at the results of our work and the work of hundreds of partners including local, state, and federal government, regional and tribal partners, technical experts, contractors, teachers, and citizens.

Restoring Habitat

  • Worked with over 100 partners to protect or restore 28,387 acres of habitat at 236 projects.
  • Completed a GIS-based regional strategic prioritization that identifies potential habitat restoration sites based on the highest value at the ecosystem scale.
  • Developed the Ecosystem Classification comprised of six data layers, providing the basis for a scientifically sound monitoring program and habitat restoration site selection.
  • Monitored ecosystem status and trends monitoring (since 2005). Assessed site conditions and fish usage at 30 sites, compares conditions and usage across regions, and tracks changes at three sites across time.
  • Analyzed effectiveness of habitat restoration at ten restoration projects comparing sites with data from 51 reference sites.
  • Monitored habitat conditions including salmon use, diet, food web, and water quality at sites key for juvenile salmon rearing, and refuge.
  • Created ecologically-based, voluntary habitat coverage targets for the region to protect remaining native habitats and restore priority habitats.  

Reducing Contaminants and Protecting Water Quality

  • Collected over 10,000 pounds of pesticides at a take back event in Longview, Washington with the Washington Department of Agriculture and Cowlitz County Public Works.  
  • Host pharmaceutical collection sites in two counties. Conducted a pilot pharmaceutical mail back project in two Oregon counties.
  • Monitored and evaluated legacy and emerging contaminants in sediment, water, and fish tissue in juvenile salmonid in the lower river and estuary for three years.
  • Compiled historic and contemporary data on toxic contaminants in the lower river into a central database.
  • Assisted two communities to meet federal stormwater requirements.
  • Helped ten schools add stormwater features to their schoolyards.
  • Tracked marine debris in the lower river using an interactive web map and used it to target clean up efforts. 

Advancing Science

  • Assessed three scenarios of sea level rise (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 meters increase) and impacts to floodplain habitats.  
  • Completed monitoring to determine extent of cold water refuges in the Columbia Gorge.
  • Developed a pilot technique to enhance cold water refuges at various tributaries to support salmon migration.
  • Completed inventory of barriers to fish passage that expands the regional culvert inventory. Mapped Columbian white-tailed deer habitat in the lower river with USFWS.
  • Conducted a two-day workshop on indicators of ecosystem health to develop a framework to track changes. 
  • Developed and maintain a central database (Oncor) for research and monitoring data 
  • Completed an analysis of habitat changes in lower Columbia floodplain over the past 140 years to assess most significant losses and identify potential recoverable habitat.
  • Collected and characterized digital video of habitat conditions for 605 miles of shoreline.
  • Collected almost 19,000 acres of bathymetry data, mapped 300,000 acres of floodplain land cover, and altered wetlands to improve restoration efforts.

Educating Students

  • Provided 81,485 students with 407,704 hours of instruction in applied science and hands-on outdoor learning.
  • Worked with 3,864 teachers to help them meet meet state science education benchmarks.
  • Provided 25,750 students, teachers, and parent volunteers with on-water experiences.
  • Developed 18 classroom and field educational kits for loan that support K-12 educators looking for high-quality, hands-on materials to enrich their science lessons.

Engaging Volunteers

  • Engaged 13,319 volunteers in plantings, water quality testing, data collection and water trail maintenance.
  • In fiscal year 2018-19, volunteers contributed over 23,416 hours of time, valued at more than $455,000. 
  • Students and volunteers have planted 144,721 native trees and shrubs in riparian corridors along the lower Columbia River.
  • Created the Lower Columbia River Water Trail with interactive database and signage at key water trail sites.
  • Hosted 326 summer and community paddles since 2007 for 7,648 people.

Building Regional Achievements

  • Worked with regional partners and members of Congress to pass the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act, which was signed by President Obama in December 2016. The CRBRA authorizes a grant program administered by the U.S. EPA to help local groups voluntarily clean up, monitor, and reduce the use of toxics within the Columbia River Basin. 
  • Hosted forums, technical conferences, annual Science to Policy Summits, and scientific workshops to facilitate discussions among scientists and natural resource professionals and bring advancements in in science to a wide range of users.
  • Leveraged funds to bring $76,200,000 to the region, creating 1,524 jobs.

Click here to see our 2019 Year In Review.