Ducks Unlimited hosted a dedication on June 28, 2003 to celebrate the 270-acre wetland restoration project on the Skagit Wildlife Area. Greg and Carol James (owners of Topics Entertainment, a software publishing firm in Renton, WA) provided a substantial gift to DU to help with the project. The newly restored area is located between Samish and Padilla Bay about 15 miles south of Bellingham, WA and is managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Three new water control structures were installed to allow management of ponds and swales to enhance natural food for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Acquisition of this tract took place in 2000, thanks to a partnership between Ducks Unlimited, Inc., the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using North American Wetland Conservation Act funds. Greg and Carol James generously made the key donation that allowed the restoration to be completed in the fall of 2002.
"These wetlands are a wonderful example of the power of public and private partnerships that come together to benefit North America's waterfowl and other wildlife," says Tom Dwyer, Director of Ducks Unlimited's programs in the Pacific Northwest. "We hope generations of people and wildlife will enjoy this area for many years to come."
The Samish area is a popular waterfowl viewing and hunting location that provides valuable habitat for tens of thousands of wintering waterfowl as well as brood habitat for resident mallards. The renowned birding site and the adjacent areas of Samish and Padilla bay provide winter habitat for shorebirds, seaducks and Pacific brant. All five North American falcon species winter on or near the property including the rare gryfalcon. Bald Eagles are numerous in the winter and there is a great blue heron rookery nearby.
Restoration of the recently acquired property will add almost 95 acres of important wetland habitat to the narrow neck of land that separates Samish and Padilla bay. DU has already restored wetlands on adjacent properties, and holds a conservation easement on 100 acres directly across the road that fronts Samish bay to the north.