Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) purchased 409 acres of agricultural land adjacent to Samish Bay in western Skagit County between 1996 and 2000 and developed the Samish Unit of the Skagit Wildlife Area. While the wildlife area has made great strides since acquiring the land, the original management infrastructure has begun to deteriorate and water movement across the site is inefficient, resulting in marginal wetland conditions.
With funding from NAWCA and a WDFW Duck Stamp grant, DU is currently working with WDFW to make improvements to over 200 acres on the Samish Unit by upgrading infrastructure and improving water delivery capabilities. The resulting project, slated for summer 2015 construction, will give WDFW the ability to better manage water and mimic hydrologic patterns conducive to maintaining seasonal wetlands that occurred historically on portions of this landscape. Re-establishment of seasonal wetland plant communities across more than 200 acres, augmented with cereal grains on the remaining acreage of the unit, will greatly benefit a wide diversity of waterfowl and shorebirds during migration and wintering periods.
In addition, the Samish Unit has been a popular public waterfowl hunting destination in the northern Puget Sound, and as a result of the habitat gains should see higher quality waterfowl hunting opportunities.