Back to top

Building Riverfront Property for Fish and Wildlife along Oregon's Willamette River

Along the banks of Oregon's Willamette River, NOAA and our partners have started building habitat for fish and wildlife, just a few miles downriver from Portland, Oregon. On the site of a former lumber mill, the Alder Creek Restoration Project is the first habitat restoration project [PDF] that will be implemented specifically to benefit fish and wildlife affected by contamination in the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. The project, managed by a habitat development company called Wildlands, will provide habitat for salmon, lamprey, mink, bald eagle, osprey, and other native fish and wildlife living in Portland Harbor. Driving this project is a Natural Resource Damage Assessment conducted by the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council to quantify natural resource losses resulting from industrial contamination of the river with the toxic compounds PCBs, the pesticide DDT, oil compounds known as PAHs, and other hazardous substances. Wildlands purchased the land in order to create and implement an early restoration project. This "up-front" approach to restoration allows for earlier implementation of projects that provide restored habitat to injured species sooner, placing those species on a trajectory toward recovery. The service credits—ecological and otherwise—that will be generated by this new habitat will be available for purchase by parties that have liability for the environmental and cultural losses calculated in the damage assessment. Thus when a party reaches an agreement with the Trustee Council regarding the amount of their liability, they can resolve it by purchasing restoration credits from Wildlands. And Wildlands, as the seller of restoration credits, recoups the financial investment it made to build the project. Finally, and most importantly, a substantial piece of land with tremendous potential value for the fish, birds, and other wildlife has been protected from future development for other, less ecologically friendly purposes. Read more:

For more information, contact Rob Neely. Go back to OR&R Weekly Report.

Artist's rendering of restored river and wetlands.
Artist's rendering depicting what the Alder Creek Restoration Project will look like after construction along Oregon's Willamette River. (Courtesy of Wildlands)