Willapa Bay Estuary
Unfortunately the distinct habitat of the Willipa bay is being rapidly destroyed
by the invasive, smooth atlantic cordgrass (Spartina
Alterniflora). This grass along with other environmental factors
pose a great threat to the diverse ecology on the Willipa bay.
An estuary is a unique ecosystem where the fresh water
runoff meets the salt water of the ocean. These areas are considered
to be of extreme importance to the earth as a whole, since an untended
estuary produces from four to ten times the weight of organic matter
produced by a cultivated corn field of the same size (estuary net).
Additionally estuaries contain habitat for thousands of birds, fish
and other animals, which often use the estuary as a breeding ground
and place to rear their young, along with the contribution of organic
material and habitat. Estuaries provide flood control form high
seas and filters water form rivers as it meet the oceans.
VR 360' Panarama
The diverse number of species and overall productivity of the world's
estuaries is due to the fact that they have a large available nutrient
supply that is consumed by the phytoplankton a group of single celled
algae which are the foundation to the food web. The phytoplankton
is consumed by many different primary consumers, which provide energy
to the other animals in an estuary. Although phytoplankton are the
major organism which harnesses the energy form the sun and converts
it into a usable source for the primary consumers, most estuaries
do contain a diverse population of plants which provide shelter
and food for animals and prevent erosion of the estuary.
As one can see Estuaries are very important to the overall health
of the ocean and economy in many regions.
VR 360' Panarama
|The Willapa bay is a costal plain estuary, which is
relatively pristine and conceded to be one of the cleanest estuaries
in the world is located in southwest Washington State along the pacific
coast. This pristine estuary, is home to a variety of plants an animals
which all have complex relationships with one another, the estuary
is able to support clams, crabs, oysters, fish and other marine organisms.
The Willapa bay national wildlife refuge was established in 1937 to
protect migrating populations of black brant, a sea goose that migrates
from Alaska and other waterfowl. It was recognized early on that it
would be essential to protect the Willapa bay, since it is of vital
importance to a variety of animals that reside or visit, the salt
marshes, dunes and coniferous forests all which provide distinct habitat
for a variety of animals. With approximately 250 birds, 53 mammals
and 19 reptiles being recorded by the fish and wildlife service within
their monitoring area.
Willapa Bay Media Gallery