Crescent Harbor Lagoon Restoration

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The Crescent Harbor Salt Marsh was once the largest barrier salt marsh on Whidbey Island. Historically, the site was hydraulically connected to Crescent Harbor by a channel located in the southwestern portion of the marsh. Around 1910, the marsh was diked and ditched for agricultural use, and the channel inlet was filled and replaced with a tidegate in the southeastern portion of the marsh. This allowed seasonal management of on-site water levels and blockage of flood tide flows. Site drainage was improved through ditching. Subsequently, muted tidal volumes and sediment transport have led to marsh surface subsidence to about three feet below natural marsh elevations due to soil decomposition and compaction (Heatwole 2004). Although the Navy secured the tide gate partially open in 1993 to allow some tidal exchange, the small opening, small-diameter culverts, and blockage by mussels and barnacles have led to extremely muted tidal flow to marsh surfaces.

A series of projects have been rehabilitating the marsh with the intent of supporting juvenile fish.