Metro recently announced the purchase of 53 acres of land in unincorporated Washington County, on the edge of Cornelius city limits. The purchase was made possible by the voter-approved 2019 parks and nature bond measure and is the latest step in years of work from multiple agencies and nonprofits to conserve habitat and protect water quality in this area.
“This acquisition leverages years of investment by multiple partners in habitat protection and restoration of the floodplain and adjacent uplands of the Tualatin River, from the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge to Clean Water Services’ Fernhill Wetlands,” said Metro conservation program director Dan Moeller. “It also expands the Atfalati Prairie, owned by Metro and the Columbia Land Trust, to approximately 345 acres.”
This $260,000 purchase helps meet Metro Parks and Nature’s goal of providing people with access to nature close to home. Home to both riparian forest and wetlands, the property is located adjacent to the City of Cornelius’s Mariposa Park and a 900-home housing development. The City of Cornelius has secured a trail easement across the property and plans to construct a section of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail using an elevated path with a viewing platform overlooking the wetlands.
The purchase also furthers Metro Parks and Nature’s goal of protecting clean water, as it includes approximately 4,650 linear feet of the Tualatin River, which has a broad and active floodplain. Protecting floodplains is critical for mitigating against natural disasters and climate change. For example, they reduce the impact of floods on neighboring communities by providing safe, spongy ground that absorbs excess water and releases it slowly into streams and rivers. After careful study of the site, Metro will begin restoration efforts that will include re-establishing native vegetation to provide shade to cool water temperatures, stabilize riverbanks and reduce run-off pollution.
This is the 19th land acquisition purchased with funding from the 2019 parks and nature bond, which so far has protected a total of 583 acres in greater Portland.