Puget Sound Innovation Stories

Leque Island Estuary

In the Stillaguamish River watershed, 85 percent of historical tidal marsh habitat has been displaced by other uses. Leque Island’s tidal marsh habitat is particularly valuable for young Chinook salmon as they transition from fresh water to saltwater but it is also important for shorebirds, waterfowl, and a host of other species in the area.

To help with decision-making on whether and how to move forward with a restoration project, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and its partners engaged locals to form a committee comprised of diverse stakeholders. Outdoor recreationists, local jurisdictions, tribal representatives, and farmers helped to guide the process of analyzing available alternatives and selected the best one. In the end, the committee ranked the full restoration design alternative higher than the partial and no restoration alternatives.

Project partners are now a few months away from beginning the first phase of the Leque Island Estuary Restoration Project. Removing over 2.4 miles of levee will restore 250 acres of tidal marsh habitat along Port Susan and Skagit Bays, which are fed by the Stillaguamish River watershed. The project team will construct tidal channels on the interior of the site during the summer of 2017, and will undertake the project’s second phase—removing the levees and restoring the tide to the site—in the summer of 2018.

Funding Sources:

  • Salmon Recovery Funding Board
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • The Nature Conservancy

Approximately $5 million is needed; applications to federal and state agencies and grantors are in process.

Congressional District: 2


  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • City of Stanwood
  • Stillaguamish Tribe
  • Sustainable Lands Strategy
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office

Leque Aerial Labels.jpg

More Info

Publish Date: April 21, 2017