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Port of Vancouver Could Transfer More Than 500 Acres to Columbia Land Trust

December 14, 2015

The Board of Directors for the Columbia Land Trust is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether the nonprofit will take over more than 540 acres currently owned by the Port of Vancouver. The land would be conserved for wildlife.

The potential deal dates back to a 2003 settlement between the Port of Vancouver and an environmental group.

The land is along a marshy stretch of the Columbia River and provides sandhill cranes with a place to stop and feed during their north-south migrations.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Columbia River lowlands as a stop on the Pacific Flyway,” said Glenn Lamb, executive director of the Columbia Land Trust in a statement.

“We’re thrilled at the prospect of permanently protecting more than 500 acres that will support sandhill cranes and other migratory birds.”

Port commissioners voted to approve the deal during a meeting Dec. 8, 2015.

Commissioner Jerry Oliver said that in exchange for the land, the Port of Vancouver would be able to develop an adjacent parcel that’s currently unavailable because of the lawsuit.

“We can’t build a building on it or put a rail line out there, all of which are planned,” he said. “Now that can come to fruition. That’s why this agreement is so significant.”

Along with turning over the property to the Columbia Land Trust, the Port of Vancouver has agreed to pay the nonprofit $7.5 million to help conserve the land.

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Sandhill cranes, Mid-Columbia River Refuges, Wash.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service