Relatively undisturbed estuary including subtidal (open water), intertidal (mudflat), rocky shore (harbor mouth) intertidal emergent (salt marsh) intertidal emergent (scrub/shrub), palustrine forested (forested wetland/willow), palustrine emergent (common reed), and palustrine emergent spoil (fill).
The site is visited by over 500,000 shorebirds annually during spring and fall. It is used as roosting and foraging grounds by shorebirds.
Counts from various sources report that an estimated 300,000+ shorebirds were observed during an aerial survey of Grays Harbor on April 27, 1993. Ground counts of Bowerman Basin on April 26 and 27, 1993, indicated about 150,000 and 125,000 shorebirds respectively.
Ecology & Conservation
The species known to use this site include:
Lesser Golden Plover
Grays Harbor is also used by other species of birds such as the Peregrine Falcon, Brown Pelican, gulls, terns, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorant.
Threats to the area include those associated with expanding economic base and a growing population. Invasive introduced vegetation is also a current threat to the native plant community. For example, Giant Reed (Phragmites Communis) and Spartina are two of these invasive species.
Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival (includes field trips and lectures during the peak of spring migration, last weekend in April, and is coordinated by the Grays Harbor Audubon Society.)
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
c/o Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516
Phone: (360) 753-9467
Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
Herman S.G. and J.B. Bulger, 1981. The distribution and Abundance of Shorebirds During the 1981 Spring Migration at Grays Harbor, Washington. U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, WA. Contract No DACW 67-81-M-0936 64pp.
Washington State Coastal Zone Management Program Amendment No. 3: Approval and Adoption of the Grays Harbor Estuary Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Washington state Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA 105 pp.+ appendices
Management and Development Plan Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, Hoquiam, Washington, February 1990, prepared by Grays Harbor Refuge Planning Team, USFWS. 54 pp. + appendices.
Paulson, D.R., 1993. Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. 406 pp.