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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Take your Binoculars: It's Prime Time for Birds at Smith and Bybee Lakes


Did you know the largest urban wetland in the US is in Portland?       

Located in North Portland’s Rivergate area adjacent to the Columbia Slough, the nearly 2,000 acre Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is designated a state “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society (see more info below).  Troy Clark, president of the Friends of Smith and Bybee Lakes organization is a passionate advocate for the wetland and has a bird list that is a record of nearly weekly visits dating back 20 years. During a recent morning visit he identified 53 species while walking and paddling the wetlands!


Find opportunities to get involved with the Friends group and other partners on Metro’s Green Scene calendar or go to  This Saturday, April 13, two events are happening:

And on Saturday, May 11 there's a wetlands wildlife exploration kayak tour (you don't even need a kayak!) 

An Important Bird Area (IBA) is a site that has been selected for its outstanding habitat value and the critical role it plays in hosting birds during breeding, migrating, or over-wintering.  Collectively the IBAs form a global network of critical habitat. The Important Bird Area designation is recognized internationally, and thousands of IBAs have been designated across Europe, Asia and North America. Today, there are more than 2,500 state-level IBAs in the U.S.and nearly 450 globally-significant IBAs in the U.S. The Audubon Society of Portland oversees the 97 IBAs that have been identified in Oregon.

Find out more:

Map and site descriptions for Oregon IBAs | Portland-area IBA map

Environmental Services and partners work to protect and enhance significant natural resources in the city, like Smith and Bybee Wetlands, which are part of the city's green infrastructure.  Wetlands help filter water to protect water quality, public health and the environment--at the same time, they provide green space for people, birds and wildlife to enjoy. 

Photo: Streaked horned lark, a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing that is found in the Columbia Slough Watershed.



Add a Comment


Penny Beckwith

April 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Great post! Troy is also leading a Bring Your Own Boat Paddle for the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on April 24th 5:30-7:30. Bring your boat and come paddle with us on Smith Bybee! Here's the info:


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