Wildlife & Habitat

Pylons in estuary 512x219

To protect crucial shorebird habitat, Congress authorized the establishment of Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in 1988. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Grays Harbor NWR encompasses about 1500 acres of intertidal mudflats, salt marsh, and uplands including what is known as Bowerman Basin.

  • Birds

    Shorebirds are among the world's greatest migrants.  Some birds travel over 15,000 miles round trip from their southerly non-breeding areas to their breeding ground in the arctic.  While travelling north in the spring, shorebirds need to stop, rest and fuel up at stopover areas in order to continue their long distance journey.

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  • Plants

    Mudflats and marshes are bordered by willows, marsh grasses and deciduous woodlands of alder and cottonwood.  These are ideal habitats for feeding and nesting migratory songbirds.

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  • Habitat

    There is nothing more critical to the establishment of healthy animal communities than habitat. At the Refuge, at least four distinct natural habitats work together to create a richness of biodiversity rare even for the Pacific Northwest.  Refuge habitats are important for a variety of wildlife.  All of these habitats can be viewed from the Sandpiper Trail. 

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