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Wetlands

North Coast Estuaries

Estuaries in the North Coast Basin

Here are the brief descriptions of estuaries on North Coast from north to south. Click here for more detailed information.

Estuary Major/Minor Classification Size (acres) County
Columbia River Major Deep draft 80811 Clatsop
Necanicum River Major Conservation 451 Clatsop
Ecola Creek Minor Conservation 50 Clatsop
Nehalem Bay Major Shallow draft 2749 Tillamook
Tillamook Bay Major Shallow draft 9216 Tillamook
Netarts Bay Major Conservation 2743 Tillamook
Sand Lake Major Natural 897 Tillamook
Nestucca River Major Conservation 1176 Tillamook
Neskowin Creek Minor Conservation 30 Tillamook
Salmon River Major Natural 438 Lincoln
Siletz Bay Major Natural 1461 Lincoln
Depoe Bay Minor Shallow draft 25 Lincoln
Big Creek Minor Natural 20 Lincoln
Yaquina Bay Major Deep draft 4329 Lincoln
Beaver Creek Minor Conservation 35 Lincoln
Alsea Bay Major Conservation 2516 Lincoln
Yachats River Minor Conservation 40 Lincoln
Tenmile Creek Minor Natural 35 Lane
Big Creek Minor Natural 35 Lane
Berry Creek Minor Natural 30 Lane
Siuslaw River Major Shallow draft 3060 Lane

Alsea Bay

The Alsea Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Waldport. The estuary is approximately 2516 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 474 square miles.

The Alsea Bay estuary is designated as a Conservation estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

Alsea Bay

Alsea Bay (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

Department of Oregon Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Waldport Quadrangle, Lincoln County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-31. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn About Alsea Bay Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Stembridge, James. Recent Shoreline Changes of the Alsea Sandspit, Lincoln County, Oregon. OreBin 37 (5) (1975): 77-82.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Siuslaw National Forest and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Lower Alsea River Watershed Analysis. 1999.

Depoe Bay

The Depoe Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Depoe Bay. The estuary is approximately 25 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 15 square miles.

The Depoe Bay estuary is designated as a Shallow Draft Development estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

Sources

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Depoe Bay Quadrangle, Lincoln County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-27. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Depoe Bay Estuary in the Oregon Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Snavely, Parke D. and Norman S. Maxwell. Visitors guide to the geology of the coastal area near Beverly Beach State Park, Oregon. OreBin 33 (5) (1971): 85-105.

Excerpts with permission from The Oregon Coastal Atlas, Compiled by Susan Gilmont, Staff, OSU Libraries (2007) Nestucca River Estuary

The Nestucca Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Pacific City. The estuary is approximately 1176 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 322 square miles.

The Nestucca Bay estuary is designated as a Conservation estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

The Nestucca Bay estuary is located in Tillamook County. Principle industries of the county are agriculture, lumber, fishing, and recreation. The county seat of Tillamook is home to Tillamook Bay Community College, and bordered by the Tillamook State Forest. The 1997 population of Tillamook County of 23,800 represented an increase of 10.3% since 1990. By 2006, it had grown to 25,530, an increase of 18.4% over 1990, and 5.2% since 2000.

The estuary is the site of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is notable for hosting six subspecies of wintering Canada geese, including 10% of the world's population of dusky Canada geese, and for a rare sphagnum bog further south at Neskowin Marsh. The refuge is only open to the public during its annual open house in October and during the Pacific City Birding and Blues Festival in February.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Nestucca Bay and Pacific City areas.

Sources

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Habitat Map of the Nestucca Estuary. Portland, OR: The Department. 1978.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Nestucca Bay Quadrangle, Tillamook County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. 1995. Open File Report O-95-23.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about Nestucca Bay Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Starr, Richard M. Natural Resources of Nestucca Estuary. Portland, OR: Research and Development Section, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 1979.

Nehalem Bay

Nehalem River estuary

Nehalem River (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Nehalem River estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Nehalem. The estuary is approximately 2749 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 855 square miles.

The Nehalem River estuary is designated as a Shallow Draft Development estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

The Nehalem River estuary is located in Tillamook County. Principle industries of the county are agriculture, lumber, fishing, and recreation. The county seat of Tillamook is home to Tillamook Bay Community College, and bordered by the Tillamook State Forest. The 1997 population of Tillamook County of 23,800 represented an increase of 10.3% since 1990. By 2006, it had grown to 25,530, an increase of 18.4% over 1990, and 5.2% since 2000.

Although much of the land around the Nehalem River estuary has been diked and converted to pastures, there are still significant coastal marshes around the bay.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Rockaway, Manzanita and Nehalem River area.

Sources

Coast Range Association. Salmon and forests: report on the Nehalem Watershed. Corvallis, OR: The Association. 2000.

Salmon River Estuary

Salmon River

Salmon River (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Salmon River estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Otis. The estuary is approximately 438 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 75 square miles.

The Salmon River estuary is designated as a Natural estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Bar Built estuary.

The Salmon River estuary is located in Lincoln County. Principal industries of the county are lumber, fishing, agriculture and tourism. The county seat of Newport is home to Oregon State Universitys Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and a busy commercial fishing fleet. By 2006, it had grown to 44,500 representing an increase of 12.7% over 1990, but less than 1% since 2000.

Along with Sand Lake, the Salmon River estuary is one of only two major estuaries in Oregon that are designated as natural. The U.S. Forest Service manages the Salmon River estuary as part of the Cascade Head Experimental Forest. The estuary is a unique natural laboratory for studying wetland restoration. Although cattle have grazed in the area since the late 19th century, most marshland was not converted into pastures until the 1960s, when three dikes were built around the bay. Beginning in 1978, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began breaching the dikes and restoring the marshes. The dikes were breached at nine-year intervals. This regular sequence has enabled scientists to study wetland recovery over time.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Salmon River and Neskowin area.

Sources

Cornwell, Trevan J., D. L. Bottom, and K. K. Jones. 2001. Rearing of Juvenile Salmon in Recovering Wetlands of the Salmon River Estuary. Portland, OR: Fish Division, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Information Reports. 2001-05. 2001.

Lund, Ernest H. Coastal Landforms between Roads End and Tillamook Bay, Oregon. OreBin 36 (11) (1974): 173-195.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Aquatic Inventories Project: Salmon River Estuary. 2002.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Neskowin Quadrangle, Tillamook and Lincoln Counties County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-24. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Salmon River Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Sand Lake Estuary

Sand Lake

Sand Lake (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Sand Lake estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Sand Lake. The estuary is approximately 897 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 17 square miles.

The Sand Lake estuary is designated as a Natural estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Bar Built estuary.

The Sand Lake estuary is located in Tillamook County. Principle industries of the county are agriculture, lumber, fishing, and recreation. The county seat of Tillamook is home to Tillamook Bay Community College, and bordered by the Tillamook State Forest. The 1997 population of Tillamook County of 23,800 represented an increase of 10.3% since 1990. By 2006, it had grown to 25,530, an increase of 18.4% over 1990, and 5.2% since 2000.

Sand Lake is one of only two major estuaries in Oregon (the other is the Salmon River) that are designated as Natural. The absence of a large stream providing freshwater inflow means that this estuary is dominated by the marine environment. Most of the land is coastal marsh. The area hosts bald eagles and many wading and sea birds

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Sand Lake area.

Sources

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Habitat Map of the Sand Lake Estuary. Portland, OR: The Department. 1978.

Kreag, Rebecca A. Natural Resources of Sand Lake Estuary. Portland, Or. : Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. 1979.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of Sand Lake Quadrangle, Tillamook County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. 1995. Open File Report O-95-22.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about Sand Lake Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Starr, Richard M. Natural Resources of Nestucca Estuary. Portland, OR: Research and Development Section, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 1979.

Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Siletz Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Lincoln City. The estuary is approximately 1461 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 373 square miles.

The Siletz Bay estuary is designated as a Conservation estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

The Siletz Bay estuary is located in Lincoln County. Principal industries of the county are lumber, fishing, agriculture and tourism. The county seat of Newport is home to Oregon State Universitys Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and a busy commercial fishing fleet. By 2006, it had grown to 44,500 representing an increase of 12.7% over 1990, but less than 1% since 2000.

Much of the land around the Siletz estuary is part of the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Public access to the Refuge is limited to special events, such as guided summer canoe trips. Wildlife can be watched from the highway. The refuges primary ecological goal is to restore the salt marsh to its natural tidally influenced state. The refuge provides nursery grounds for salmon and trout.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Siletz Bay and Lincoln City area.

Sources

Komar, Paul D. and C. Cary Rea. Beach Erosion on Siletz Spit, Oregon. OreBin 38 (8) (1976): 119-134.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Habitat Map of the Siletz Estuary. Portland, OR: The Department. 1978.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Lincoln City Quadrangle, Lincoln County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-25. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Siletz Bay Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Starr, Richard M. Natural Resources of Siletz Estuary. Portland, OR: Research and Development Section, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 1979.

Siuslaw River Estuary

Siuslaw River

Siuslaw River (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Siuslaw River estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Florence. The estuary is approximately 3060 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 4560 square miles.

The Siuslaw River estuary is designated as a Shallow Draft Development estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

The Siuslaw River estuary is located in Lane County. Historically, Lane Countys economy has been based on timber and agriculture. Diverse recreational opportunities from the mountains to the coast have made tourism an important part of the economy. The county seat of Eugene is home to the University of Oregon. The 1997 population of 308,500 represents an increase of 9.0% since 1990. The county has grown another 10% from 1997 to 2006, with the 2006 population at 339,740.

The Darlingtonia State Natural Site, the only Oregon state park designed to protect a single plant species, is five miles north of Florence. The area from Florence south to Coos Bay contains the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, the largest region of coastal sand dunes in North America.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the City of Tillamook area.

Sources

Bayer, Range D. and Roy W. Lowe. Waterbird and Mammal Censuses at Siuslaw Estuary, Lane County, Oregan. Studies in Oregon Ornithology: 4 (1988).

Lund, Ernest H. Oregon Coastal Dunes Between Coos Bay and Sea Lion Point. OreBin 35 (5) (1973): 73-92.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Florence Quadrangle, Lane County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-37. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Siuslaw River Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Siuslaw Watershed Council. A Watershed Assessment for the Siuslaw Basin [draft]. [S.l.] : Siuslaw Watershed Council. 2002.

Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Bay (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Tillamook Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Tillamook and Garibaldi. The estuary is approximately 9216 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 540 square miles.

The Tillamook Bay estuary is designated as a Shallow Draft Development estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Drowned River Mouth estuary.

The Tillamook Bay estuary is located in Tillamook County. Principle industries of the county are agriculture, lumber, fishing, and recreation. The county seat of Tillamook is home to Tillamook Bay Community College, and bordered by the Tillamook State Forest. The 1997 population of Tillamook County of 23,800 represented an increase of 10.3% since 1990. By 2006, it had grown to 25,530, an increase of 18.4% over 1990, and 5.2% since 2000.

Tillamook Bay is extremely productive: in 1998, one stream feeding into Tillamook Bay, the Wilson River, produced the most juvenile Chinook salmon of any monitored stream on the Oregon coast. Five major tributaries flow into Tillamook Bay: the Tillamook, Trask, Wilson, Kilchis and Miami. Four rivers, the Tillamook, Trask, Wilson and Kilchis, are relatively close together when they enter the bay, and their valleys merge to create one big floodplain. Thanks to this unusual topography, the area has experienced problems with flooding and sedimentation. In response to these issues, in 1992 Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts nominated Tillamook Bay to the National Estuary Program. Since then, the bay has been extensively studied. Federal and State agencies, along with vigorous local involvement, are working to solve the challenges facing this unique estuary.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the City of Tillamook area.

Sources

Coulton, Kevin G., et al. An environmental history of the Tillamook Bay Estuary and Watershed. Garibaldi, OR : Tillamook Bay National Estuary Project. 1996. With Illustrative Figures.

Lund, Ernest H. Coastal landforms between Tillamook Bay and the Columbia River, Oregon. OreBin 34 (11) (1972) 173-194.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Tillamook Quadrangle, Tillamook County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-21. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Tillamook Bay Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Netarts Bay

Netarts estuary

Netarts (Oregon Coastal Atlas)

The Netarts Bay estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Netarts. The estuary is approximately 2743 acres in area and has a watershed of approximately 14 square miles.

The Netarts Bay estuary is designated as a Conservation estuary under the Oregon Estuary Classification system. The geomorphology of the area is that of a Bar Built estuary.

The Netarts Bay estuary is located in Tillamook County. Principle industries of the county are agriculture, lumber, fishing, and recreation. The county seat of Tillamook is home to Tillamook Bay Community College, and bordered by the Tillamook State Forest. The 1997 population of Tillamook County of 23,800 represented an increase of 10.3% since 1990. By 2006, it had grown to 25,530, an increase of 18.4% over 1990, and 5.2% since 2000.

Netarts Bay is one of the less disturbed estuaries in Oregon today. As such, it is an important resource for many wildlife species. The Audubon Society of Portland reports, for example, that between 18-70% of Oregon's wintering population of Black Brant (average 43%) is to be found at Netarts Bay.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries maintains a tsunami inundation map for the Netarts Bay area.

Sources

Follansbee, Bruce; Mondragon, Jennifer; Allen, Sean, and Mundell, Jim. Netarts Watershed Assessment. Bay City, OR: Tillamook Coastal Watershed Resource Center; 1999.

Hunter, Matt. Oregon's Important Bird Areas: Netarts Bay. Portland, OR: Audubon Society of Portland. 2003.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Tsunami Hazard Map of the Netarts Quadrangle, Tillamook County, Oregon. Portland, OR: The Department. Open File Report O-95-37. 1995.

Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program. Learn about the Netarts Bay Estuary in Oregon's Coastal Atlas. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. 2000.

Peterson, C. D. and Darienzo, Mark E. Coastal Neotectonic Field Trip Guide for Netarts Bay, Oregon. Oregon Geology 50 (9/10) (1988):99-106.

Stout, Heather (ed.). The Natural Resources and Human Utilization of Netarts Bay, Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 1976.

Terich, Thomas A. and Paul Komar. Development and Erosion History of Bayocean Spit, Tillamook, Oregon. Corvallis, Or. : School of Oceanography, Oregon State University. 1973.