Aquatic Restoration Spotlight Project Secret Harbor
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Aquatic Restoration Spotlight Project Secret Harbor 
Secret Harbor Restoration 

Secret Harbor Salt Marsh and Estuary Restoration

In 2006, DNR purchased the Secret Harbor site for inclusion into the Cypress Island Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA). This acquisition likely prevented large-scale development that would have permanently transformed the area and greatly reduced the opportunity to restore the site to natural conditions.

The goal of this project is to restore a continuum of 28 acres of estuarine, riverine, and palustrine wetlands and adjacent upland habitats within the NRCA of Secret Harbor on Cypress Island. 


As of June 2012, the restoration design is 65% complete. Restoration of the site will include removing fill and a tidal dike and filling ditches to restore hydrology to the site. Expected benefits include the recovery of mudflat, salt marsh, and estuarine channels, as well as freshwater wetland and stream habitats.

Project elements--in addition to the dike removal--include:

  • Restoring freshwater marsh hydrology and wetland habitat to improve connectivity to the creek.
  • Providing fish access into the restored habitat through the removal of culverts.
  • Restoring wetland functions through regrading of berms around stock ponds and re-vegetation with native wetland plants.
  • Removing a derelict creosote-treated dock.

DNR is currently partnering with the Samish Indian Nation’s Department of Natural Resources to provide baseline and post-construction biological monitoring. Following construction, we hope to include up to four years of monitoring to determine the extent to which the habitat has recovered. Monitoring will also provide for adaptive management of the site to improve any conditions that have not recovered.

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