Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program is coordinated by Clark County Public Health’s Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt.

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People generally want a range of features in their yard such as a patio, shed, bird bath and feeder, food garden, and ornamental or native plant area. Along with food gardens, this section provides information on some other lesser utilized features your lot may already have, or you may want to add to be more wildlife friendly.


  • Food Gardens

    Some basics to get you started with vegetable gardening.

  • Meadows / Prairies

    Meadows are wonderful habitat features. They not only support pollinators (and insects in general), but birds and small mammals. They are also great at preventing erosion because meadow plants generally have deep and/or extensive root systems, and they can be low-maintenance once established. But depending on situation, they can become weedy. Good plant selection is imperative. Remember, balance is key.


      Conservation Resources for Prairie & Oak Woodland Landowners pdf — Nature Conservancy

      Inspiration for why meadows and prairies are a good thing. Website has some resources links.


      Establishing Pollinator Meadow from Seed pdf — Xerces Society.

      Good general guide, but we would warn that this guide advocates a higher proportion of flowers to grasses, and though that may be very good for pollinators, it generally looks dead, unattractive, and can get weedy over the long winter season here in the PNW. If you are orchestrating a tiny ‘pollinator meadow’ as a small feature of your ornamental landscape, more flowers is fine. Just understand that the entire meadow will go dormant (and may be less appealing visually) during winter. If you are converting a very large portion of your landscape to meadow, consider planting at least ½ of the total area in warm-season clumping grasses (and be sure at least some of those are evergreen).


      Meadows / Prairies — Goodnight Design.

      The basics of why meadows are good, and links to many resources and books to help get you inspired and started.

    • South Sound Prairies

      South Sound Prairies — South Puget Sound area.
      Probably the closest local information available.

      Practical guides:

    • Garry Oak Ecosystems

      The Garry Oak, also known as Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) is our region’s only native oak. This tree’s native habitat is grass savanna (meadow). The trees are majestic and long lived, and their savanna ecosystem is not only beautiful, but supports a truly mind-boggling amount of birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and insects. If you have or want Garry Oaks and/or the meadows they would be at home in, check out these resources.

      • Garry Oak Ecosystem

      • Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT)

        Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) is out of British Columbia, but the Garry Oak ecosystem that is native there is the same as is native here. Of particular interest for home gardeners from their site:

      • Wildlife on White Oaks Woodlands

        Wildlife On White Oaks Woodlands pdf — World Forestry Center, Portland, OR.

        Great paper with information about all of the many creatures who depend upon Garry Oak ecosystems for their survival.

  • Septic Systems

    Guidelines for Planting on or near Septic Fields pdf — From a variety of resources including University of Minnesota Extension; WSU Extension, Clallum County; Michigan Wildflower Farm

    Plants for Drainfieldspdf — WSU Extension, Clallum County.

    Landscaping Your Drainfield pdf — WSU Extension, Clallum County.

    Planting on Your Septic Drainfield pdf — Virginia Cooperative Extension.

  • Streams / Riparian Areas

    Protecting Your Stream pdf — Watershed Stewards, Clark County, WA and WSU Clark County Extension.

    Streamside Gardening — Oregon State University Extension, Yamhill County.
    Lots of links to great regional information.

    Plants for Streamside Gardens pdf — Oregon State University Extension, Yamhill.

  • Wildfire Defense

    Some of what is necessary to prevent wildfire is mutually exclusive for wildlife habitat, particularly up close to your house.


    • Well-watered Lawn

      Many resources recommend well-watered lawn grass in the Zone 1 area around your structures. Since the NBB program is encouraging water conservation, and lawn size reduction. For this situation we recommend lawn made of one of the eco-lawns such as Fleur de Lawn, RTF(Rhizomatous Tall Fescue) or even better, all clover.

      • Lawn Alternatives — Goodnight Design.
        Descriptions and links to 2 types of eco lawn.

      • Mini- and micro-clover — Goodnight Design.

      • There are situations where having lawn is still the best choice of landscape. If you live in a high-risk wildfire area, chances are good there is a lot of wildlife habitat nearby, so having an eco-lawn wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
    • Less Local (but good) Wildfire Resources

Related resources: Lawn | Grasscycling | Water Use & Management

Related articles: Appropriate Plants

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