About the Reserve

Padilla Bay is "reserved" for research and education about the Salish Sea.

Our mission is to promote improved management and stewardship of estuarine ecosystems in the Puget Sound biogeographic region through research, monitoring, education, training, stewardship, and interpretation.

The Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (1972) created a federal/state partnership to manage and improve the nation’s coasts. Section 315 of the Act established the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) to protect selected coastal areas for long-term research, monitoring and education.

The Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), jointly approved by The State of Washington and Congress in 1980, is managed by the Washington State Department of Ecology Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program and protects over 11,000 acres of critical intertidal and upland habitat in Skagit County. As a living field laboratory with significant support facilities and professional staff, Padilla Bay NERR carries out several programs and activities consistent with its mission and the needs of the State's Coastal Management Program. Funding for Padilla Bay NERR comes from the annual NOAA grant (70/30 federal/state match), and multiple other public and private sources.