WDFW temporarily closes public access to Leque Island near Stanwood for habitat restoration project

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Loren Brokaw, 425-775-1311 x105 or loren.brokaw@dfw.wa.gov

OLYMPIA—The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close public access to the Leque Island Unit of the Skagit Wildlife Area from July 22 through mid-November for a habitat restoration project designed to benefit shorebirds, waterfowl, and salmon. 

sky view of Leque island
Aerial View of Leque IslandPaul Debruyn

Much of Leque Island was historically a saltwater marsh that provided habitat for many species, including juvenile salmon. In the late 1800s, residents built dikes around the perimeter of the island to reclaim land for agricultural use and housing. However, these dikes have failed during recent high tide and storm events.

“Construction this summer will remove the perimeter dike to re-establish marsh habitat that is beneficial to fish and wildlife in the Stillaguamish watershed,” said Loren Brokaw, WDFW restoration manager. “Crews will also excavate new channels and tidal headwaters, fill ditches, add a non-motorized boat launch, and remove Eide Road.”

The local community will benefit from the restoration project as crews will construct a berm to protect the City of Stanwood from large waves. The berm will also have a 0.7-mile elevated trail on top of it for people to enjoy the outdoors and observe wildlife.

The Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Program, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), WDFW’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are providing grants to fund the project.

More details about the restoration project are available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/habitat-recovery/nearshore/conservation/projects/leque-restoration.

WDFW manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 600 water access sites across the state that provide fish and wildlife habitat, as well as fishing, hunting, wildlife-viewing, and other outdoor activities for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors every year.  

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.