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Columbia County - Information for Partners and Participants

The Nehalem River near Mist, Oregon.

Columbia County of Oregon is located in the northwest portion of the state, bordered by Washington State and the Columbia River on the north and east. It has a total land mass of 420,301 acres (657 sq. miles) with an additional 32 sq. miles of water, primarily the Columbia River. Columbia County has over 62 miles of Columbia River shoreline, the most in the state. The elevations range from sea level near the river to 2240 ft at Buck Mountain in the Coastal Range Mountains. Precipitation ranges from 40 inches near Scappoose to more than 100 inches in the interior Coastal Range.

Columbia County is divided by the Coastal Range into two major watersheds, the Lower Columbia River Watershed and the Upper Nehalem River Watershed which flows west to the Pacific Ocean.

94% of Columbia County is private land. The remaining 6% is federal and state lands. 77% is forestland with some of the most productive Douglas-fir forests in the world. The remaining 23% includes urban/residential, industrial, pasture, cropland and wildlife lands

The NRCS office, located in St. Helens, provides voluntary conservation planning and program assistance to private land operators interested in conservation improvements.

NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies

The primary resource concerns in Columbia County identified through the local work group process include invasive species on all land uses, forest diversity and wildlife protection, water quality concerns from nutrient and organics entering surface and ground waters on small livestock operations and habitat concerns for threatened and endangered species including listed salmonid species and the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.

Conservation Implementation Strategy

NRCS Programs Available

  • Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA):
    • NRCS provides conservation planning and technical assistance to help private operators implement practices.
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP):
    • Funding is available for resource improvements on organic farms and ranches, and operators transitioning to organic certification.
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):
    • Funding for good conservation and enhancement activities on agricultural and forest lands.

Additional Conservation Resources Available

  • Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District
  • USDA-Farm Service Agency
  • Lower Columbia River Watershed Council
  • Scappoose Bay Watershed Council
  • Upper Nehalem Watershed Council
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • OSU Agriculture Extension Service
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

Local Work Group Updates

If you are interested in participating, please contact the NRCS District Conservationist listed below.

For meeting information, please click here.

Success Stories


NRCS conservation project helps firefighters quench wildfire

When it comes to fighting wildfires in rural communities, conservation projects can save lives and property. That was the case during a recent fire fight in the Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District.   More (HTML...)

Key Words:  EQIP, Wildfire, North Coast Basin

For Additional Assistance Contact

St Helens Service Center
35285 Millard Road
St. Helens, Oregon 97051

NRCS District Conservationist:  Don Mehlhoff, (503) 397-4555 x105
Columbia County SWCD, (503) 397-4555

Columbia River floodplain near the town of Rainier.

Coastal mountains above St. Helens.