Tonkon Torp Helps Columbia Land Trust Establish Sandhill Crane Habitat Preserve

In the fall of 2003, a settlement agreement was reached between the Columbia River Alliance for Nurturing the Environment (CRANE) and the Port of Vancouver, USA related to litigation over potential development of about 1,060 undeveloped acres of Port property near Vancouver Lake.

The settlement provided that about 540 acres would be designated as natural habitat for migrating Sandhill cranes and other birds, and about 520 acres could be developed for industrial use. In 2015, the parties identified the Columbia Land Trust as the preferred entity to permanently own and operate the property as crane habitat under a conservation easement and habitat management plan.

Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Real Estate & Land Use and Environmental & Natural Resources practice groups represented the Land Trust in negotiating and completing: the transfer of the property from the Port; essential terms of the conservation easement and habitat plan benefiting CRANE; and the establishment of an endowment for the perpetual management of the crane habitat. The land will be bermed to diminish sound and sight interference, and will be actively farmed with the resulting grain being left in place as food for the migrating birds. The transaction closed on March 25, 2016.

Max Miller led the Tonkon Torp legal team that also included Jan Neuman and Jeff Keeney. Attorneys in the Real Estate & Land Use practice group help landowners, developers, builders, investors, tenants, and lenders solve problems and achieve their real estate objectives. The Environmental & Natural Resources Practice group helps clients anticipate and strategically address environmental and resource issues.

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