Marine Protected Areas within Puget Sound

Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area

WAC 220-303-090: "'Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area' is defined as those waters and bedlands from Waketickeh Creek (located 1000 yards northeast of Cummings Point) out perpendicular to shore 500 yards, then parallel to shore northeast 1700 yards, then back to shore along a line perpendicular to shore, excluding the area within 100 feet of ordinary high water." Effective since 9/16/2000.


Links to other imagery about this site

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A view of the fenced entrance to the park, facing west.

Recreational Restrictions / Openings
Species Status Comments, notes...
Salmon Closed  
Trout Closed  
Bottomfish Closed  
Shellfish Closed  
Forage Fish Closed  
Unclassified Closed  
Commercial Restrictions / Openings
Species Status Comments, notes...
Salmon Closed  
Bottomfish Closed  
Shellfish Closed  
Forage Fish Closed  
Unclassified Closed  


Geographic Statistics

Area Type Acres Hectares
Intertidal 0.32 0.13
Subtidal 146.02 59.09
Total 146.34 59.22


Prominent and unique features

The Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area is the most expansive fully-protected marine reserve in Hood Canal and is one of three marine reserves that protect rare rocky habitats in southern Hood Canal. A prominent patch of rocky habitat comprises much of the subtidal habitat at the northern end of the reserve. The rocky habitat occurs in three or more discrete configurations as distinct shallow, middle-depth, and deep rocky habitat patches. The shallow reef occurs from near intertidal depths down to 30 feet (mllw), the middle reef extends from approximately 35 feet to 50 feet, and the deep reef extends from 60 feet to at least 80 feet. Deeper portions of the reef may occur but have not been mapped. These patches of rock habitat are composed of bedrock with extensive folding, fissures, and boulder fields that form the basis for dense fish and invertebrate communities. These rocky habitats are separated and surrounded by unconsolidated substrates including cobbles, pebbles, gravel, sand, and mud, and these extend south to the southern perimeter of the reserve. At the southern end of the reserve, a steep cliff on the shore gives rise to a bedrock wall in the subtidal zone. Although the nearshore 100 feet is not part of the reserve, some of the rocky habitat and boulder fields at the base of the wall are inside the reserve.

In the photic zone to 30 feet (mllw), bladed kelps and foliose red algae cover much of the rocky habitat.

The shoreline not part of the reserve consists of a mixture of gravel, pebbles, cobble, and boulders. Houses are found along the shore in northern portion of the reserve.

Description of fish, bird, and mammal resources at the site

The rocky habitats support a diverse and abundant fish community dominated by copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) and quillback rockfish (S. maliger). The copper rockfish occur in schools often observed over the crown of the deep rock pile. In addition, other marine fishes are common on the rocky habitats including striped seaperch (Embitoca lateralis), pile perch (Rhacochilus vacca), wolfeel (Anarrichthys oceallatus), vermillion rockfish (S. miniatus), juvenile yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus), blackeye goby (Coryphopterus nicholsii), and painted greenling (Oxylebius pictus).

Giant Pacific octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini) are common at the site and a variety of encusting sponges are found on the rocks. Other predominant macro-invertebrates include formations of cloud sponges (Aphroocallistes vastus) that occur in deep portions of the northern reserve, red rock crabs (Cancer productus), and sponges.

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are observed in the marine reserve and seabirds such as grebes and pigeon guillemots can be seen in the reserve.

Programs in place to manage the site

WDFW regulations prohibit recreational and commercial fishing at the Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area, and WDFW manages the site as fully-protected marine reserve for non-tribal citizens. The taking of all species of invertebrates and fishes is prohibited by WDFW regulations.

Volunteers from the recreational diving community were very active in the nomination and declaration of this site. Access is limited to this site because of the private ownership of the uplands and its remote location from public boat ramps. However, a resort for divers is located just to the north of the reserve and the resort owner supports the reserve.

The enforcement of the harvest restrictions is relegated to the Enforcement Program of WDFW. Information on the site boundaries and restrictions is found in WDFW's Sport Fishing Pamphlet and formal regulations are published at the State of Washington's Administrative Code available on the state's web site. Because of the private ownership of the uplands bordering the reserve no shore-based signage is present. WDFW is developing specific pamphlets describing each of its marine reserves.

WDWF scientists include the Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area in their marine reserve monitoring efforts. The site is visited several times per year when the scientists perform a census of the fish living on the two southern rocky habitats. During these surveys, all fish are identified, counted, and measured. The areas of the rocky habitats have been measured so fish densities can be assessed and compared to previous surveys or other areas.

Issues of concern

Some of the owners of the uplands bordering the reserve have expressed opposition to the designation and presence of the Waketickeh Creek Conservation Area. Since shore diving is limited, boat anchoring potentially could be a problem. The lack of buoys and shore-based markers marking the reserve limit the ability of agents to enforce the rules.

Performance measures

  • The number of divers and volunteers who visit and work at the site.
  • Acceptance by upland owners and local fishers.
  • The continued presence of a diverse fish community.
  • Increasing or sustained abundances of copper rockfish.
  • Increasing and sustained large individual sizes of copper rockfish.