National Wildlife Refuge
|Paulson Rd, south of State Hwy 109
Grays Harbor County, WA
Phone Number: 360-753-9467
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is located within Grays Harbor Estuary, at the mouth of the Chehalis River, which makes up the second largest watershed in Washington. It is one of four major staging areas for migrating shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway. Up to one million shorebirds gather here in spring and fall to feed and rest.
Grays Harbor is designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site, recognizing this internationally-significant shorebird habitat. Although the refuge occupies only two percent of the intertidal habitat of Grays Harbor, it hosts up to 50 percent of the shorebirds that stage in the estuary.
As many as 24 species of shorebirds use Grays Harbor Refuge, with the most abundant species being western sandpiper and dunlin. Semi-palmated plover, least sandpiper, red knot, and black bellied plover are also common during migration. The refuge is also used by peregrine falcon, bald eagle, northern harrier, Caspian tern, great blue heron, songbirds, and a variety of waterfowl.
The accessible boardwalk offers a means to develop and implement interpretation and education programs for the more than one million travelers that pass by each year on their way through the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula.
Getting There . . .
The refuge is located at the western city limits of Hoquiam, Washington.
Take State Highway 109 to Paulson Road, turn south, then west to parking areas adjacent to Bowerman Airfield. Limited parking is available across from Lana's Hangar Cafe on Airport Way. Do not park on the blacktop road west of the gate.
Click here for a refuge map.
Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:
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A Management and Development Plan was completed in 1990. It calls for several visitor facilities to enhance education and interpretation. Studies and monitoring of the shorebirds will be a significant part of the biological program.
The refuge’s main habitat management activity is eradicating Spartina (cordgrass), in cooperation with the State and other partners. This invasive plant infests an estimated 8,000 acres of estuaries and wetlands in the Grays Harbor area. The refuge also conducts extensive surveys for Spartina. Entire coastline of Olympic Peninsula is surveyed, since infestations are beginning to appear there. The surveys cover more than 57,000 acres of estuary below the mean high tide line in Grays harbor, more than 180 miles of coastline in remote areas, and more than 40 creeks and rivers that flow into the ocean off the coast north of Grays Harbor.