|River sources||Bone River, Niawiakum River, Palix River, Naselle River, Bear River|
|Ocean/sea sources||Pacific Ocean|
|Basin countries||United States|
Willapa Bay ( // ) is a bay located on the southwest Pacific coast of Washington state in the United States. The Long Beach Peninsula separates Willapa Bay from the greater expanse of the Pacific Ocean. With over 260 square miles (670 km2) of water surface Willapa Bay is the second-largest estuary on the United States Pacific coast. Early settlers called the bay Shoalwater Bay and this name is found on old maps and charts of the region.
Willapa Bay is fairly shallow: more than half of its surface area lies in the intertidal zone, and half of the volume of water inside it enters and leaves with every tide. The bay is an estuary formed when the Long Beach Peninsula, a long sand spit from the Columbia River to the south, partially enclosed the estuaries of several smaller rivers. It is a ria, which formed after the rise in sea level at the end of the last ice age flooded several small river valleys.The North River, Willapa River, and Naselle River provide most of the freshwater input into the bay. Other rivers that empty into Willapa Bay include the Bone River, Niawiakum River, Palix River, Cedar River and Bear River, among others.
The bay is bordered by several smaller towns and unincorporated communities such as Raymond and South Bend, both on the Willapa River; Oysterville, Nahcotta, Bay Center and Tokeland are on the bay itself. The bay is entirely located within Pacific County, Washington and is home to a local oyster and seafood processing industry: approximately 9% of all oysters in the U.S. are grown there.
Willapa Bay is known for its biodiversity and much of it, including the entirety of Long Island, has been set aside as part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The oyster beds help the ecosystem by providing habitats and filtering water, improving the quality of the water. The bay's ecology was threatened in the 1990s by the rapid spreading of Atlantic cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), a non-native species of grass introduced possibly to help preserve wetlands and marsh areas, and possibly simply by accident as packing material in crates of oysters from the East Coast. The State of Washington has been spraying an herbicide thought not to threaten other species since about 2005, and the Spartina threat is much reduced.
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Pacific County is a county in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,920. Its county seat is South Bend, and its largest city is Raymond. The county was formed by the government of Oregon Territory in February 1851 and is named for the Pacific Ocean.
Tomales Bay is a long, narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Marin County in northern California in the United States. It is approximately 15 mi (24 km) long and averages nearly 1.0 mi (1.6 km) wide, effectively separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland of Marin County. It is located approximately 30 mi (48 km) northwest of San Francisco. The bay forms the eastern boundary of Point Reyes National Seashore. Tomales Bay is recognized for protection by the California Bays and Estuaries Policy. On its northern end, it opens out onto Bodega Bay, which shelters it from the direct current of the Pacific. The bay is formed along a submerged portion of the San Andreas Fault.
Barnegat Bay is a small brackish arm of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 42 miles (68 km) long, along the coast of Ocean County, New Jersey in the United States. It is separated from the Atlantic by the long Barnegat Peninsula, as well as by the north end of Long Beach Island, popular segments of the Jersey Shore. The bay is fed by several small rivers, including the Toms River and Metedeconk River, which empty into the bay through small estuaries along its inner shore. The communities of Toms River, Silverton, and Forked River sit along the river estuaries on the bay.
The Willapa River is a river on the Pacific coast of southwestern Washington in the United States, approximately 20 miles (32 km) long. It drains an area of low hills and a coastal plain into Willapa Bay, a large estuary north of the mouth of the Columbia River.
State Route 105 (SR 105) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Washington. It travels 48 miles (77 km) along the Pacific Coast between two junctions with U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in Raymond to the south and Aberdeen in the north. The highway also has two spur routes: a 4-mile (6 km) road serving the city of Westport on Grays Harbor and a short connector in Aberdeen.
Sporobolus alterniflorus, or synonymously known as Spartina alterniflora, the smooth cordgrass, saltmarsh cordgrass, or salt-water cordgrass, is a perennial deciduous grass which is found in intertidal wetlands, especially estuarine salt marshes. It has been reclassified as Sporobolus alterniflorus after a taxonomic revision in 2014, but it is still common to see Spartina alterniflora and in 2019 an interdisciplinary team of experts coauthored a report published in the journal Ecology supporting Spartina as a genus. It grows 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) tall and has smooth, hollow stems that bear leaves up to 20–60 cm long and 1.5 cm wide at their base, which are sharply tapered and bend down at their tips. Like its relative saltmeadow cordgrass S. patens, it produces flowers and seeds on only one side of the stalk. The flowers are a yellowish-green, turning brown by the winter. It has rhizoidal roots, which, when broken off, can result in vegetative asexual growth. The roots are an important food resource for snow geese. It can grow in low marsh as well as high marsh, but it is usually restricted to low marsh because it is outcompeted by salt meadow cordgrass in the high marsh. It grows in a wide range of salinities, from about 5 psu to marine, and has been described as the "single most important marsh plant species in the estuary" of Chesapeake Bay. It is described as intolerant of shade.
The Long Beach Peninsula is an arm of land on the southern coast of the state of Washington in the United States. Entirely within Pacific County, it is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the south by the Columbia River, and the east by Willapa Bay. Leadbetter Point State Park and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge are at the northern end of the peninsula and Cape Disappointment is at the southern end, with Pacific Pines State Park located in between.
Oysterville is an unincorporated community located along Willapa Bay on the Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County, Washington, United States. It is approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) from the city of Ocean Park, and 15 miles (24 km) from Long Beach. Founded in 1841 as an oyster fishing village, the community is registered on the National Register of Historic Places as the Oysterville Historic District. It currently has a population of about 20 residents.
Yaquina Bay is a coastal estuarine community found in Newport, Oregon, United States. Yaquina Bay is a semi-enclosed body of water, approximately 8 km² (3.2 mi²) in area, with free connection to the Pacific Ocean, but also diluted with freshwater from the Yaquina River land drainage. The Bay is traversed by the Yaquina Bay Bridge. There are three small communities that border the Yaquina River and Bay; Newport, Toledo and Elk City. The Yaquina Bay in Newport is a popular tourist destination along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is also an important estuary for the ecology and economy of the area.
The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south flyway for migratory birds in America, extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, migratory birds travel some or all of this distance both in spring and in fall, following food sources, heading to breeding grounds, or travelling to overwintering sites.
The Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company operated a 3 ft narrow gauge railroad that ran for over forty years from the bar of the Columbia River up the Long Beach Peninsula to Nahcotta, Washington, on Willapa Bay. The line ran entirely in Pacific County, Washington, and had no connection to any outside rail line. The railroad had a number of nicknames, including the "Clamshell Railroad" and the "Irregular, Rambling and Never-Get-There Railroad."
Nahcotta is an unincorporated community in Pacific County, in the American state of Washington. It is located on Willapa Bay, on the eastern coast of the Long Beach Peninsula, within the Ocean Park CDP.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge located on the shores of Willapa Bay in Washington, United States. It comprises 11,000 acres (45 km2) of sand dunes, sand beaches, mudflats, grasslands, saltwater and freshwater marshes, and coniferous forest. The refuge includes Long Island with stands of old growth Western red cedar and hemlock.
Willapa Bay is a large shallow body of water near the Pacific Ocean in southwestern Washington. For a number of years before modern roads were built in Pacific County, Washington, the bay was used as the means of travel around the county, by powered and unpowered craft, including several steamboats.
The Coast Range ecoregion is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, and California. It stretches along the Pacific Coast from the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in the north to the San Francisco Bay in the south, including Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington, the entire length of the Oregon Coast, and the Northern California Coast. Named for the Coast Range mountains, it encompasses the lower elevations of the Olympic Mountains, the Oregon Coast Range, the Californian North Coast Ranges, and surrounding lowlands.
Montesano was a steamboat that was operated from 1882 to about 1903 in the coastal regions of Oregon and southwest Washington, including Astoria, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, the Chehalis River, Yaquina Bay and Coos Bay. The Montesano of 1882, built in Astoria, should not be confused with another, larger sternwheeler, also named Montesano, built in Cosmopolis, Washington in 1889.
The Cedar River is a short stream flowing into the north end of Willapa Bay in the U.S. state of Washington.
North Cove is an unincorporated community in Pacific County, Washington.
The U.S. state of Texas has a series of estuaries along its coast on the Gulf of Mexico, most of them bounded by the Texas barrier islands. Estuaries are coastal bodies of water in which freshwater from rivers mixes with saltwater from the sea. Twenty-one drainage basins terminate along the Texas coastline, forming a chain of seven major and five minor estuaries: listed from southwest to northeast, these are the Rio Grande Estuary, Laguna Madre, the Nueces Estuary, the Mission–Aransas Estuary, the Guadalupe Estuary, the Colorado–Lavaca Estuary, East Matagorda Bay, the San Bernard River and Cedar Lakes Estuary, the Brazos River Estuary, Christmas Bay, the Trinity–San Jacinto Estuary, and the Sabine–Neches Estuary. Each estuary is named for its one or two chief contributing rivers, excepting Laguna Madre, East Matagorda Bay, and Christmas Bay, which have no major river sources. The estuaries are also sometimes referred to by the names of their respective primary or central water bodies, though each also includes smaller secondary bays, inlets, or other marginal water bodies.
Charles E. Wheeler Wildlife Management Area is a 625-acre (253 ha) brackish tidal marsh, nature preserve and hunting area owned by the state of Connecticut located in Devon (village), Milford, New Haven County, Connecticut.