A place for birds, salmon and beach walking

Livingston Bay, on the southeast side of Camano Island, is a critical stop for waterfowl and other migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. It also provides vital estuarine rearing habitat for salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, and other fish species. In 2006, we acquired 3,160-acres of tidelands in Livingston Bay, Camano Island, the largest conservation project in our Land Trust’s history.

The acquisition was made possible by a $400,000 grant from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, matched by a generous private donation from Floyd Jones of Seattle.

Jones’ wife, the late Delores Jones, was a member of the Sundin family, Swedish immigrants who purchased farmland on Livingston Bay in 1905. The family still owns property there.

“It’s a special place,” Floyd Jones said. “I’ve always thought it was a wonderful beach for kids.” That was one reason he supported the project.

Jones and his wife were also involved in the Land Trust’s earlier acquisition and protection of the Davis Slough heron rookery on Camano Island.

“Acquisition of the Livingston Bay tidelands caps off a banner year at the Land Trust. Thanks to our members and wonderful donors like Floyd Jones, we’ve been able to conserve almost twice as much land in 2006 than in our previous 21 years combined,” said Land Trust Executive Director, Patricia Powell.

The Livingston Bay tidelands are part of the Greater Skagit-Stillaguamish Delta, which also includes the state’s 13,000-acre Skagit Wildlife Area. More than 90 percent of Western Washington’s migrating waterfowl rely on the delta for wintering areas, including half the nation’s population of Wrangell Island snow geese. The area also is vital to hundreds of wintering trumpeter and tundra swans and hosts the highest density and diversity of winter raptors in the United States. All five North American falcon species are found within the Livingston Bay project area.

The tidelands are also used by juvenile and adult salmon and are especially important for juvenile Chinook salmon migrating from the Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. They also provide important spawning areas for Pacific sand lance and surf smelt and migratory pathways for endangered bull trout.

Most of the Livingston Bay shoreline is privately owned, but public access is available to the southwest portion of the bay at Island County’s Iverson Spit Reserve, a popular spot for bird watching and beach walking.