Urban Conservation

Conservation in urban areas helps protect our natural heritage and provides people with access to nature that raises their quality of life. It promotes communities that care about the natural world and supports ecosystem services that deliver economic and environmental benefits.

Metropolitan Greenspaces

A History of Investing in Urban Wildlife


Urban Ecosystem Research Consortium (UERC)

The UERC is a consortium of people from universities and colleges, state and federal agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and independent professionals interested in supporting urban ecosystem research and creating an information-sharing network of people that collect and use ecological data in the Portland/Vancouver area.  Please visit the UERC web site to find background and contact information, a link to sign up on their listserv, announcements about upcoming events, and details about their annual Urban Ecology and Conservation symposia (including proceedings from past events).

UERC 2015 Urban Ecology and Conservation Symposium

Monday, February 9, 2015
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Portland State University
Smith Center Ballroom
1825 SW Broadway, Portland, Oregon

The symposium focuses on urban environmental issues and the practical application of related ecological and social science research in the Portland/Vancouver region.

• Brief presentations and a poster session will give you a taste of what’s happening in the Portland/Vancouver region.

• Inspiring keynotes from noted researchers and practitioners.

• Networking opportunities happening pre-conference (8-9 AM), during lunch, and at the afternoon social hour (4-6 PM).

• Lunchtime discussion groups provide opportunities to share information.

2015 UERC Symposium Flyer

To register for the Symposium, click here


Jennifer Thompson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alan Yeakley, Portland State University

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The Intertwine Alliance

The Intertwine Alliance is a growing coalition of private firms, public agencies and nonprofit organizations that has united to enhance the system of natural areas, parks and trails throughout the greater Portland, Ore./Vancouver, Wash. region.  The Intertwine Alliance is fostering a shared vision and common understanding of priorities.  Their work is helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and accessible open spaces where people live and work, in turn giving people opportunities to experience nature on a daily basis, recreate outdoors in and near our neighborhoods, and preserve our cultural and natural heritage.

The Intertwine Alliance was established to serve and build the capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of its members.  It provides a framework for collaboration across a larger landscape and vast suite of programs than any members would be able to integrate on their own.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a supporting member of the Intertwine Alliance because it brings multiple partners together to work on initiatives that conserve fish and wildlife and their habitats, connect people to nature and serve the public in a population center.  Our participation provides us with the opportunity to support locally-led conservation efforts that are in line with our agency mission. 

Regional Conservation Strategy & Biodiversity Guide:  The Intertwine Alliance brought together over 100 authors and experts to develop a Regional Conservation Strategy, Biodiversity Atlas and GIS maps for the region.  Products from this two-year effort were released in October 2012 and are now available on-line.

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Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds

The Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds Program works with cities and partners to conserve migratory birds through education, hazard reductions, citizen science, conservation actions, and conservation and habitat improvement strategies in urban/suburban areas.  The goal of this effort is to raise awareness about migratory birds and promote their conservation to ensure that bird diversity is maintained and remains an important element of the urban landscape.

Photo - Jackson Bottom Wetlands in Portland (USFWS).




The City of Portland was selected in 2003 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a pilot project city to protect and enhance the environment for migratory birds. New this year (2011): Portland Bird Agenda. [large pdf file]

The program started in 1993 when New Orleans became the first city to sign an Urban Cosnervation Treaty for Migratory Birds. Other U.S. cities to sign the treaty are - Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Nashville, and Anchorage. On October 17, 2008, New York City became the ninth city to sign a conservation treaty.

For more information on the USFWS program, click here.

Fact Sheet.
Urban Bird Treaty Program Handbook

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Metropolitan Greenspaces Program Archives

This program is no longer funded, however, information about the Greenspaces program's history along with resources pertaining to urban natural resource conservation, habitat restoration, and environmental education remain available. Read more.

Photo - Restoration at Fanno Creek Park (Metro).
Fanno Creek Park

Awarding grants to community partners was a major focus of the Greenspaces Program when it was funded from 1991 through 2004. Over 300 grants enabled local governments, schools, businesses, special districts, nonprofit organizations, and thousands of citizens to restore, enhance, and learn about urban natural resources, while leveraging federal funding with matching contributions more than five-fold.

View profiles and final reports of conservation and restoration projects. See resources available from environmental education projects.

Contact: Jennifer Thompson

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Items of Note


Conserving Nature in Every Neighborhood
Click on photo to access report.
A Greenspaces Booklet

(32-page pdf file)

To obtain copies, please contact
Jennifer Thompson