Leading Community Stewardship, Building Resiliency

Founded in 1981, The Wetlands Conservancy (TWC) is the only organization in Oregon dedicated to working in partnership with communities statewide to permanently protect, conserve and restore Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands. Its work includes ownership, enhancement and stewardship of wetlands statewide.

Students from Portland Community College assist with amphibian monitoring.

Students from Portland Community College assist with amphibian monitoring.

Here in Washington County, in collaboration with other Tree for All partners, TWC engages the public in two important community science programs focused on beavers and amphibians. Both vertebrates are fundamental to wetland health and water quality; and each program offers people a fun outdoor experience.

At Wetlands Conservancy-led community science projects, volunteers don tall rubber boots to wade upstream in search of beaver activity, looking for obvious signs like lodges and dams as well as inconspicuous markings such as fresh prints in soft mud. Thanks to a robust program that trains and educates volunteers, TWC is building and improving upon best practices that maximize the benefits created by beaver activity and mitigate some of the conflicts with human uses.

At the Portland Community College Rock Creek campus, where Clean Water Services (CWS) is restoring a degraded wetland, CWS- and TWC-trained college students join other volunteers to use transect protocols and survey for floating amphibian egg masses of the native Northern red-legged frogs, Pacific chorus frogs, long-toed salamanders and northwestern salamanders.

TWC’s values — interconnection, community, science, learning, resilience and legacy — enrich the Tree for All partnership immeasurably. The Wetlands Conservancy community science program offers people a chance to explore, gain understanding and become better stewards of the natural world.

We’re at a really interesting point now, doing things a little bit differently. It’s supporting ecological function, healthy communities and a healthy economy. That’s what excites me right now.
— Esther Lev, The Wetlands Conservancy