The Skagit Wildlife Area is managed in 16 separate units totaling about 16,700 acres. Most are scattered throughout the west half of Skagit County, with some in Island, Snohomish and San Juan counties. Most are adjacent to Skagit Bay, between the mouths of the north and south forks of the glacier-fed Skagit River, the second largest in the state. They include a large part of Skagit Bay’s east shoreline, restricted mainly to second-class tidelands and intertidal marsh areas. Also included are many tributaries of the South Fork of the Skagit River and the islands between these tributaries, as well as some inter-tidal acreage in Port Susan Bay and an intertidal area on the Camano Island shoreline of Skagit Bay.
The North Fork of the Skagit River forms the wildlife area’s northern border, and many channels of the South Fork run through the area’s core. The South Fork of the Stillaguamish River approximates the southern limit of WDFW ownership. Skagit Bay forms the western boundary for a portion of the wildlife area. Tidal action and the mixing of fresh and saltwater create a rich estuarine environment. The characteristic habitats of the Skagit Wildlife Area include open water, island shoreline, tidal mudflats and marshes, forested uplands, and agricultural (diked) land. Most of the intensively managed units have agricultural fields, which are planted with cereal grains to provide food for wintering waterfowl.
The various units comprising the Skagit Wildlife Area contain a wide range of estuary- and riparian-dependent aquatic and terrestrial species, as well as federally threatened bald eagles, marbled murrelets, and anadromous Chinook salmon populations.
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