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Killin Wetlands

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    Killin Wetlands

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Killin Wetlands target area. View maps illustrating the Metro Council's priorities in this area and learn more about the importance of the area to our region.

The Metro Council's goal and objectives for the Killin Wetlands target area are:

photo of Killin Wetland target area


  • Although much of the Killin Wetlands is currently in public ownership, acquisition of the critical remaining portions of the Wetlands and main tributaries will build on the public’s investment to date and ensure long-term protection and public enjoyment of the highly valuable fish and wildlife habitat in one of the largest remaining peat soil wetlands in the Willamette Valley.


Tier I Objective

  • Protect additional lands adjacent to the Killin Wetlands Natural Area for habitat protection and to provide wildlife viewing opportunities.

Tier II Objective

  • Protect natural corridors along creek tributaries that feed into Killin Wetlands to protect wildlife habitat and water quality.

About the area

The Killin Wetlands near the city of Banks represents the last two percent of Willamette Valley scrub-shrub marsh on organic peat soils that was present before pioneers settled the area in the 1850s. It supports rare plants and animals, including one of the largest contiguous stands of an uncommon willow species, Geyer’s willow, as well as a robust and growing breeding population of the state-sensitive red-legged frog. Cutthroat trout have been documented to occur in the west fork of Dairy Creek and likely use the Killin Wetlands and the adjacent floodplain and ditches as migration and rearing habitat. Known to local birders for years as Cedar Canyon Marsh, it is the place to see (or at least hear) three elusive marsh birds: the American bittern, sora and Virginia rail. These ecologically significant wetlands provide excellent wildlife habitat, floodwater storage and water quality improvement by filtering agricultural runoff. Farm uses and growers have helped maintain the rural character of the area and provided stewardship of this area for decades.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

One of the largest peat soil wetlands remaining in the Willamette Valley, this wetland supports a rare assemblage of plants and animals. Although much of the wetland is currently in public ownership, acquisition of the remaining portions of the wetland and main tributaries is essential to the long-term protection of this highly valuable fish and wildlife habitat.

1995 Natural Areas Program goals and accomplishments

  • Acquire the wetland to protect unique soil and vegetation characteristics and to provide flood control and water quality benefits.
  • Acquire/protect areas adjacent to the streams with upland forest habitats.

The Killin Wetlands was included in the Jackson Bottom/McKay and Dairy Creeks target area in Metro's 1995 program. To date 373 contiguous acres have been protected by Metro's at Killin Wetlands including 217 acres of regionally-rare peat soil wetlands and nearly two miles of frontage along Cedar Canyon Creek and nearly a mile of frontage along Park Farms Creek. Metro has worked cooperatively with partners such as Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited and the Tualatin Riverkeepers to restore native wetland vegetation at this site.

New focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

  • Acquire the remaining portions of the wetland and main tributaries.
  • Protect the rare peat soil wetland and associated with rare plant life.
  • Consider the relationship between natural areas protection and existing agricultural operations.
  • The acquisition plan for this area will address Metro Council Resolution No. 06-3727, which included a commitment to keeping productive agricultural land in farm use and encouraging the use of conservation easements in agricultural areas.

Field research and scientific data findings

  • The Killin Wetlands are all that remain of an estimated 10,000 acres of willow swamp and marsh that occurred historically in the Willamette Valley. Loss of this vegetation type appears to be about 98% in the region.
  • The last stands of Geyer willow (Salix geyeriana) in the Willamette Valley are found here.
  • The site supports a robust and growing breeding population of the state-sensitive red-legged frog (Rana aurora aurora).
  • Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) likely use the wetlands and adjacent floodplain and ditches as migration and rearing habitat.

Public input helps Metro Council set priorities

In September 2007 the Metro Council approved acquisition plans for each of the 27 regional target areas. The Metro Council established these priorities with the input of natural resource and land use experts, scientists, citizens and local land managers. More than 500 people attended eight community open houses to share their ideas with Metro Councilors. Nearly 1,000 people filled out questionnaires ranking their priorities and offering ideas for partnerships and other ways to stretch the public's investment. The acquisition plans include a map, goals and objectives for each target area.

Need assistance?

Natural Areas Program

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