Dabob Bay NAP
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Dabob Bay NAP 

Dabob Bay  Aerial view of Dabob Bay Mature lowland coniferous forest at Dabob Bay NAP. Photo: D. Wilderman/DNR
Site Description

Features protected: North Pacific Maritime Coastal Sand Dune and Strand ecosystem, Temperate Pacific Tidal Salt and Brackish Marsh ecosystems, North Pacific Maritime Forest ecosystems, North Pacific Intertidal Mudflat ecosystem, North Pacific Maritime Eelgrass ecosystem.
Ecoregion: Puget Trough (Jefferson County)

The Dabob Bay Natural Area was established in 1984 to protect rare examples of intact salt marsh and sand spit plant communities within one of Washington’s highest functioning coastal spit and tidal wetland systems. Initially created as a natural area preserve (NAP), the site was enlarged in 2009 to include additional land designated as NAP, along with lands designated as natural resources conservation area (NRCA). This provides additional opportunities for low-impact public use.

The natural area includes mature coastal forests, coastal streams, feeder bluffs, forage fish spawning areas, eelgrass beds, native Olympia oyster beds, nearshore tidelands  and mudflats utilized by juvenile salmon and shorebirds, and open marine waters utilized by salmon, marine birds, harbor seals and orcas. The combined NAP/NRCA currently comprises 1,193 acres of shoreline, marsh and forestland in the Dabob Bay watershed. 

Science, Research and Monitoring
Public and private universities, other research institutions and individual researchers may contact DNR to propose a research project at the site. If you are interested in pursuing research at Dabob Bay, please contact David Wilderman, Natural Areas Ecologist, at david.wilderman@dnr.wa.gov

Examples of research and monitoring projects that have been carried out at Dabob Bay:

Environmental Education and Public Access
Currently there are no formal educational programs at Dabob. The site is not ADA accessible and facilities are not available.  A future site-based management planning process will include participation from the scientific, educational, recreational and local communities. For more information, contact the DNR South Puget Sound Region Natural Areas Manager.

Volunteer and Stewardship Opportunities
Dabob Bay Beach Clean-up Day

Volunteers remove trash from sand spits Trash is loaded onto barges for removal 
Volunteers remove trash from sand spitsTrash is loaded onto barges for removal

DNR, Northwest Watershed Institute, Rock Point Oyster Company and The Nature Conservancy host an annual Tarboo/Dabob Bay clean-up at which volunteers collect the trash that floats in on the tides and is trapped by the current in the bay. These materials are removed from the site on barges supplied by the oyster company, and hauled to an upland landfill.

Dabob Bay also provides opportunities for committed individuals to become site stewards, visiting the site regularly to observe its condition and to identify management issues that need the attention of site managers. If you are interested in volunteer and stewardship opportunities at Dabob Bay Natural Area, please contact the DNR South Puget Sound Region Natural Areas Manager.

Restoration at Dabob Bay Natural Area
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program Restoration Project
Implementing a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, nine acres of degraded fields and disturbed riparian areas are being converted back to native habitat. This project is improving habitat and reestablishing connectivity between Tarboo Bay and the upland forest landscape by removing non-native invasive vegetation, installing coarse woody debris, and replanting the site with native trees and shrubs. 

 Riparian area invaded by Himalayan blackberry, Dabob Bay NAP Photo: D. Nemens Exotic pasture grasses cover site of previous costal forest, Dabob Bay NAP Photo: DNR

Before restoration work, disturbed areas were choked with weeds such as Himalayan blackberry and perrenial pasture grasses that prevent native forest from re-establishing on the site. 

 Newly installed plantings, Dabob Bay NAP Photo: D. NemensCompleted restoration area, Dabob Bay NAP. Photo: D. Nemens

In the course of restoration work, invasive species are removed and native forest species—as well as ecologically important large woody materials—are returned to formerly disturbed areas. 

Location map for Dabob Bay NAP 

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Michele Zukerberg
Natural Areas Manager
Washington State Department of Natural Resources


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