KEY NORTH AMERICAN MIGRATION SITES FOR
Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Willapa Bay 

Country: USA

Region: Washington,

Site: Willapa Bay 

Species/Sub-species: REKN-roselaari

Total biogeographic population: 21,770

Count Method: Maximum day count

Count: 2,5301

% biogeographic pop. at site: 11.62

Season (primarily): Spring

Site recognition: WHSRN

Site recognition (other): Long Island is a National Wildlife Refuge, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

Site description: Using the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the site habitat characteristics are dunes, mudflats and coastal inlet. Land ownership is a mix of federal, state, private and Native American lands. An estimated 32% of the shoreline within the site boundaries is protected by the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Other agencies and stakeholders include the Forterrra Land Trust and Columbia Land Trust, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Washington State Parks, The Nature Conservancy and Shoalwater Tribe. 

Known threats: Extraction of nonrenewable resources is a medium threat in the form of mining and quarrying sand. Exploitation of renewable resources is also a threat in terms of over exploitation, persecution and controls of species (habitat effects of fishing and harvesting aquatic species and specifically commercial extraction of oysters) and the habitat effects logging (small-scale extraction of wood for subsistence) poses a medium threat. The physical alteration of the site due to climate change poses several threats to the site. The threats of habitat shifting and alteration, increased climate variability and altered weather patterns, and the effect of ocean warming on invertebrate prey populations are very high. There is also the threat of invasive and problematic species and genes (invasive alien species). Since 1995, the ecological integrity of the site has improved, due in large part to Spartina alterniflora removal and habitat restoration, and dam removal.

Notes: Historic counts (pre-Spartina invasion) were in the thousands. There is some evidence that use of Willipa is lower in recent years, but it would be surprising if several thousands of birds are not stopping here during spring. The map should be refined following tide prediction GIS model. A map was prepared by NOAA using bathymetric measures. The map includes the mudflats, the Leadbetter Point, Grass Creek, North River Cove and Long Island NWR.

Sources: 1Buchanan, J.B. 2008. The spring 2008 survey of Red Knots Calidris canutus at Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, Washington. Wader Study Group Bulletin 115(3): 177–181.