Simple directions for Liberty Hill camas – letters due Jan 30

Liberty Hill vernal stream wildflowers

With few days left to submit, I’ve put together simplified instructions. I also keep gathering more photos and data of this incredible place, with a lot of help from other people who really care.

Here is a new version of the video, taking advantage of additional drone shots of the meadow and a ton more wildflowers. Also, edited out the boring parts.

If you decide to submit a comment, here are some easy instructions:

How to submit a comment to US Army Corps of Engineers

(Email must be sent from your own email address)

Send email to:

Subject line of email must include: NWP-2022-530

Email text can be whatever you want, but must include your full name and address.

Some of the important details you can focus on are how unique the meadow and oak woodland is (biodiversity, geology, aesthetically, culturally, whatever you want), how impossible it is to “mitigate” a replacement, and that there is plenty of other basalt in the area to mine that doesn’t require destroying something so unique. If you have any personal experiences, feelings, emotions, data, expertise, etc. that relate to the issue, that’s always helpful to include.

I’ll include more supplemental data below, but feel free to message me if you need more details.

Vernal stream at Liberty Hill, © Adam Schneider

More biodiversity facts on Liberty Hill


* At least 288 plant species have been recorded on the Liberty Hill site, 86 of which aren’t otherwise recorded in Columbia County.

* The site represents the largest and most pristine camas meadow west of the Columbia River Gorge, and is considered by experts as one of the best examples of intact camas meadow and oak/ash mixed woodland in the Pacific Northwest. 

* Botanist and rare plant expert Dr. Kenton L. Chambers of Oregon State University wrote an extensive letter in 2002 verifying the uniqueness of the Liberty Hill site. He praised the rare preservation of a native grassland and wildflower assemblage, and took time to describe several species on the site of particular conservation interest. Selected quotes:

– “My evaluation of the St. Helens scabland site is that it is particularly rich example of a close-to-pristine native wildflower plant community.”

– “My summary evaluation is that the St. Helens site supports an unusually rich native herbaceous flora, of a type that persists in relatively few places in western Oregon. I note that similar sites have been given special attention by conservation agencies, public and private, as set-asides to preserve their biological and esthetic values.

* Some notable rare plant species found at Liberty Hill Bluff include the Small-flowered Trillium, an imperiled type with fewer than 1000 remaining in Oregon, and the Nuttall’s Larkspur, a beautiful plant critically imperiled in Oregon. Other residents of the meadow which are otherwise rarely seen in our region include Fringed Loosestrife, Alaskan Shooting-star, Nuttall’s Quillwort, Texas Toadflax, Meadow Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Common Bluecup, Cut-leaved Microseris, Dwarf Miner’s Lettuce, Oblong Bluecurls, Few-flowered Clover, Bigflower Agoseris, and Spring Gold, among many others.


* Around 40 bee species have been found at Liberty Hill, including several vulnerable species such as Obscure Bumble Bee, Golden Northern Bumble Bee, and White-shouldered Bumble Bee. Numerous other insects may be present, but no other surveys have been done.

* The Oregon Fairy Shrimp (Eubranchipus oregonus) has been found in two vernal pools on Liberty Hill. This 22-legged shrimp unique to the Pacific Northwest is known from fewer than 80 localities and is listed as Vulnerable.


* There are 7 amphibian species recorded on site, five of which breed in the vernal ponds. They include the Northern Red-legged Frog, an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species.


* There are 7 reptile species recorded on site, the most of any site in our region.

* Western Skink and Gopher Snake are only known from 1-2 other locations in the county outside of Liberty Hill, and are extremely rare in northwest Oregon


* At least 97 bird species have been recorded at Liberty Hill in limited surveys.

* 10 Oregon Conservation Strategy Species have been observed at Liberty Hill, including Western Bluebird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Little Willow Flycatcher, Chipping Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Martin, Common Nighthawk, Mountain Quail, Pileated Woodpecker, and American Peregrine Falcon.

* Liberty Hill is one of the best habitats in Columbia County for Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, and Western Bluebird, all of which are uncommon in the Willamette Valley region.


* A diverse range of mammals is found at Liberty Hill, including deer, elk, coyote, bobcat, raccoons, weasels, rabbits, 4 species of native squirrel, voles, moles, and bats.

* The Western Gray Squirrel found on the site is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species and has state status Sensitive in the Willamette Valley. It has seen large declines due in part to loss of oak woodlands and human encroachment.


No fish are recorded at the site. However, much of the water coming off of the bluff drains into Dalton Lake, the outlet of which was recently rehabilitated by Bonneville Power Administration to provide feeding habitat for juvenile Chinook Salmon, a federally listed Threatened Species. Knife River also plans to pump wastewater into Milton Creek, which supports salmon runs. Both Lower Columbia Chinook and Lower Columbia Coho are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species.

I can send a document with additional biodiversity details, if you are interested.

The photos in this post were provided by Adam Schneider, who has more amazing pictures of Liberty Hill’s wildflowers at the following link:

Vernal stream at Liberty Hill, © Adam Schneider

Thank you for taking a look, and if you can, thank you so much for your help.

Published by Jonathan

Educator, Herpetologist, Hiker.

2 thoughts on “Simple directions for Liberty Hill camas – letters due Jan 30

  1. You’d never have guessed all that was up there if, like those of us from Saint Helens, you never wondered exactly what was on top of all that when you’re driving down Pittsburg Road day after day.


    1. I was much the same way. I found the meadow by complete accident, having no idea it was there, even though I’d already grown up in St. Helens and loved being outdoors.


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