Humboldt Bay NWR is comprised primarily of wetland and dune units. The majority of wetland units were historically salt marsh and those which were not diked (Jacoby Creek Unit, Eureka Slough Unit and marsh portions of the dune units) are salt marsh today. The historic Salmon Creek Delta was diked around 1900 and currently exists as the Salmon Creek, Hookton Slough and White Slough Units. Due to changes in hydrology and topography over the last 100+ years, the refuge now manages much of these lands as seasonal freshwater marsh. Restoration/conversion of these marshes to the historic estuarine condition is taking place where possible. This transition back to functional estuary is incremental for many reasons but likely will occur ultimately due to sea level rise, a seismic event(s), or some combination thereof.
The leafcutter bee (Megachile wheeleri) is one of the of specialized, solitary, ground-nesting bees that are crucial to the survival of our native dune mat community. The leafcutter bee, shown here pollinating dune goldenrod, cuts semi-circular pieces from goldenrod leaves and uses them to construct its nest cell. Native bees are gaining increased attention as pollinators due to the decline of the imported honey bee (Apis mellifera) through colony collapse disorder. Photo courtesy of Andrea Pickart.