Sustainable Living Center Oregon
Representing some of the most photogenic estuarine habitat along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge was formerly pastureland, diked against the tides to accommodate dairy cows. Shallow open waters, salt marsh, mudflats, sandy beaches, seagrass beds, and sheltered channels form the complex tapestry of habitats characteristic of estuaries, where rivers meet and mingle with the sea. Though protected from the full force of the ocean’s pounding waves and buffeting winds, estuarine plants and animals must deal with the rigors of exposure, submersion, and fluctuation in salinity with each tidal cycle.
Established in 1991, the purpose of this refuge is to protect and enhance estuarine fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. Encompassing 568 acres, Siletz Bay features salt marsh, brackish marsh, tidal sloughs, mudflats, and coniferous and deciduous forestland. The refuge provides nursery grounds for Coho and Chinook Salmon, Steelhead and Cutthroat Trout, and other anadromous species. The primary ecological goal for the refuge is to allow the salt marsh to return to its natural state of twice-daily tidal inundation.
A small tidal marsh restoration project was completed by the Refuge in November 2000. In the fall of 2003, another project restored 86 acres of tidal marsh at Millport Slough through a partnership with Ducks Unlimited and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. The restoration involved breaching 220 feet of a dike, removing two dikes totaling 9,300 feet, and filling 1,200 feet of artificial ditches. Large woody debris was placed in the marsh to improve habitat for anadromous fish.
Visitor activities at the refuge include hiking the Alder Island Nature Trail, paddling in the bay and tidal sloughs. Padding through the refuge is best at high time. Tide table are @ http://www.hightide.fun Bank fishing in the fall for salmon or hunting waterfowl seasonally in designated areas.
During the summer Mallard, Wood Duck, and merganser parents trail trains of fuzzy ducklings behind them. Ospreys hover and dive on their day-long fishing forays, nabbing meals for their hungry and growing broods.
Returning Brown Pelicans, so graceful on the wing, make crashing spectacles of themselves when they spot forage fish swimming below. They tuck their wings, stretch their necks, and simply let gravity take its course. They’re a summer delight, and their numbers are increasing along Oregon’s Siletz Refuge.
Birds of Prey … Hunters from on high, birds of prey come in many shapes and sizes and lifestyles, unified in their proclivity to living off the flesh of others. Several species frequent Oregon’s coast and estuaries, including the fish-eating Osprey and the dive-bombing Peregrine Falcon. … Click Here More about the Birds of Prey
Mammals … An assortment of mammals large and small find sanctuary in Siletz Bay NWR’s varied habitats. Elk, deer, otters, and rodents are regular sights here; more elusive are predators such as Bobcat, Coyote and even Black Bear … Click Here More about the Mammals
Shorebirds … Generally stick-legged and narrow-billed, shorebirds flock en masse to Oregon’s estuaries during the spring and fall migrations. Several species are commonly spotted feeding at this refuge’s mudflats and salt marshes, often in huge, mixed groups …
Click Here More about the Shorebirds
Waterfowl … The mix of freshwater, saltwater and brackish estuary at Siletz Bay NWR draws multitudes of ducks and geese each year, as well as waders and divers including herons, grebes, pelicans, and cormorants …. Click Here More about the Waterfowl
Songbirds … Siletz Bay NWR is home to dozens of so-called songbirds, ranging in size from the pennyweight kinglet to the comparatively huge, croaking raven; and ranging inhabit from the high-diving kingfisher to the hovering, nectar-sipping hummingbird …
Click Here More about the Songbirds
Siletz Bay Refuge habitat abounds with frogs, newts, and snakes straddle the boundary between land and water; below the surface, fishes such as salmon and sole spend their larval stages in estuaries before heading out to sea … Click Here More about the Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
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