The Puget Sound

The Puget Sound's rich habitats support a tremendous variety of mammals, fish, birds, invertebrates, plants and more. Many generations of people have lived, worked and played along its 2,500 miles of shoreline. It is where Washington's mountains, prairies and rivers meet the tides and the sea. Our science projects are helping us solve critical questions about the restoration of the Puget Sound.

Eastern Washington

Farming for Wildlife

Farming for Wildlife is an innovative project working to find win-win solutions to conservation issues in working landscapes. Our vision, to create a sustainable landscape that supports a thriving agricultural community while also providing critical habitat for wildlife. Project sites are located on the Skagit River Delta and Port Susan Bay, a region that provides foraging and staging habitat for over 100,000 shorebirds annually, making it the 8th ranked shorebird site on the west coast. It is also a highly productive agricultural center. The farming for Wildlife project brings together an array of stakeholders to develop voluntary, science-based, wildlife conservation strategies that not only create habitat for wetland dependent species, but also contribute to the economic and agronomic vitality of local farms.

Farming for Wildlife is Working To:

  • Develop new rotational practices for farmers that improve soil health.
  • Increase available habitat for migrating shorebirds.
  • Bring together agricultural and conservation interests in working towards mutual goals.

What We Are Learning

The response by shorebirds to wetland rotations on local farms has been nearly immediate.
Fifteen shorebird species have been observed on flooded farm sites, including Western Sandpipers, Dunlins, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Short-billed Dowitchers, all species of high conservation concern. In addition, nitrogen levels, measured in soil tests, increased by more than 50 lbs/acre while the farm fields were flooded, a significant value to farmers. However, more research is needed to understand how nutrients can be banked and retained for future crops. Preliminary lab experiments assessing the effect of flooding on potato pathogens are demonstrating significant decreases in some pathogens under certain conditions. Final results of the pathogen study will be available in 2011. For more detailed information on results of this project, see the Farming for Wildlife Fact Sheet and 2010 Progress Report located in the downloads section on the top right of this page. For additional information, contact Ecologist Julie Morse.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

Conservation in a Changing Climate

Sea Level Rise Monitoring

A new approach to coastal climate change adaptation planning and action is being implemented in Puget Sound as part of the Conservancy's Sea Level Rise Learning Network. This project is developing a broadly applicable toolkit for assessing the vulnerability of coastal wetlands to climate change and identifying actions that will restore the ability of estuaries to survive and adapt. Learn more about this project by visiting our Climate Change webpage



Farming for Wildlife from HabitatSeven shows how farmers and conservationists are working together to protect threatened wildlife.



Farming for Wildlife Progress Report (2011)

This report presents an overview of the Farming for Wildlife project and its progress as of October 2011. It includes Farming for Wildlife project goals and objectives and a project timeline. The Farming for Wildlife project is building a model for sustainable wetland rotations and long term soil stewardship.

Download File (1 MB) Farming for Wildlife Fact Sheet (2009)

Provides an overview of the Farming for Wildlife project which is creating a more sustainable future for farmers and wildlife in the Skagit Delta.

Download File (1 MB)

Links and Resources