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Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

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Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
3888 State route 101
Ilwaco, Washington 98424
Voice: 360-4843482

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is located on Willapa Bay, one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States. Willapa Bay is the second largest estuary on the Pacific coast and includes over 260 square miles of water surface. Many salmon species are found in the waters of Willapa Bay, including chum, chinook, and coho.

The refuge preserves several unique ecosystems, including diverse salt marshes, muddy tideflats, rain-drenched old growth forests, and dynamic coastal dunes and beaches. Freshwater marshes and grasslands are found along the southern shore of the bay.

The bay's shallow water and mud flats support vast beds of eelgrass and shellfish, providing spawning habitat for fish. During spring migration, more than 100,000 shorebirds are present. Isolated sandbars provide pupping grounds for harbor seals and rest sites for migratory birds.

Seabirds, such as brown pelicans, stream into the bay from the ocean in summer and fall. Other coastal habitats include sand dunes, sand beaches, and mud flats to grasslands, saltwater and freshwater marshes, and coniferous forest, including an old-growth stand of western red cedar-western hemlock forest.

Important species include the threatened marbled murrelet, bald eagles, great blue herons, and Brant. Grasslands and neighboring forests are home to bear, elk, bobcat, woodpeckers, flying squirrels, spotted owls, silver-haired bats, and Pacific tree frogs.

 


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