Padilla Bay

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Padilla bay (IPU 244) contains the largest eelgrass meadow in Puget Sound, and sites adjacent to the Skagit Delta connected by the Swinomish Slough.

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Cereghino et al 2012 completed a soundwide analysis to identify and describe coastal inlet sites in Puget Sounds as part of a nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy (using remote sensing data c. 2000-2006). The following narrative was developed to support distribution and use of analysis results:

Coastal Inlet Site 244, also known as Padilla Bay, is one of 28 coastal inlets identified in the San Juan Sub-basin. This embayment had a historic length of 93,423 meters, with 10,505.7 acres of wetland, receiving flows from a 105.5 square km watershed. Based on these metrics, it ranks 1 out of 28 in its subbasin, and scores 100 out of 100 point in terms of size and complexity among all Puget Sound Coastal Inlets. The PSNERP Strategy Analysis assigned this site to group P9, a group of seven exceptionally large and complex coastal inlet wetland complexes.
Over five generations of coastal inlet development, mapping suggests this embayment may have lost 74% of its historical embayment shoreline length, and 90% of current shoreline has evidence of tidal flow degradation. An estimated 10% of the nearshore zone, and 10% of the contributing watershed has impervious surfaces greater than 10%. Based on these metrics, this site ranks 5 out of 28 in its sub-basin, and scores 84 out of 100 points among all Puget Sound coastal inlets, in terms of the intensity and complexity of degradation. The PSNERP Strategy Analysis assigned this site to group D4, a moderate group of 23 sites with extensive modification of shorelines, but below average levels of development in the nearshore and shoreline and variable evidence of lost length. Based on this assignement, the site is recommended for a management approach focussed on exploring the potential for restoration of large scale ecosystem process, with the goal of developing self-sustaining ecosystem services.