Washington's Coast
Washington State Department of Ecology


Ocean Shores
Cape Disappointment
Washaway Beach
Leadbetter Point
Leadbetter Point, Long Beach peninsula
A migrating inlet
Leadbetter Point and Cape Shoalwater flank the opening of Willapa Bay. Without jetties to stabilize a tidal channel, these two areas change continually as tidal channels shift and migrate. Leadbetter Point has grown northward, as the entrance to Willapa Bay has moved north through time.
Leadbetter Point and Cape Shoalwater

Leadbetter Point:
a shifting spit

From 1887 to 1965, the shifting sands at Leadbetter Point migrated into Willapa Bay.

Leadbetter Point and Cape Shoalwater, 1871-1891 Two tidal channels
Over 100 years ago, there were two tidal channels in Willapa Bay. Shoals dotted the area in between Leadbetter Point and Cape Shoalwater.
Leadbetter Point and Cape Shoalwater, 1911 Large shoals,
one tidal channel

By 1911, one deep tidal channel had carved into Cape Shoalwater, causing rapid erosion. Large shoals had formed off the end of Leadbetter Point.
Grassy Island
Leadbetter Point
Changing habitat
The tip of Leadbetter Point is part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Nearly 11,000 acres of the refuge have been lost to erosion since 1937. Accreting beaches on Leadbetter Point have provided nesting habitat for the Snowy Plover, an endangered shorebird. Over 330 acres of sand dunes, potential nesting habitat for the Snowy Plover, have disappeared from Cape Shoalwater over the decades.
Sources: Washington State Recovery Plan for the Snowy Plover, Willapa National Refuge Files based on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maps, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Illustrations redrawn from The Pacific Northwest Coast: Living With The Shores of Oregon and Washington, Paul Komar. Original illustrations based on Terich and Levenseller, 1986.

Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study. A recent study of Washington's coastal processes and shoreline changes.
Shoreline Aerial Photos of Washington, Department of Ecology See Washington's incredible marine shoreline from above. An amazing aerial tour.
Leadbetter Point, State Park and Refuge, Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. Maps, trails, and scenic features.

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