Kayaking at Nisqually NWR

posted in: EARTH | 0
20 July 2018

My favorite location for kayaking is Nisqually, near the Wildlife Refuge. I enjoy getting out on the water and enjoying the sun (if it’s shining), the water, and just getting a little relaxing exercise.  I often bring my camera along because opportunities always come up to catch the local wildlife in a more natural environment.

 In the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge delta area there is a variety of wildlife; great blue herons (GBH), numerous varieties of gulls and shorebirds, and often eagles and osprey are fishing.  And the harbor seals are plentiful, sunbathing on the shoreline.  As I drift within their comfort zone they cautiously became alert and watched me as I paddled on by.

Several years ago, Nisqually NWR went through a significant physical change, the intent being to greatly improve the habitat for salmon and waterfowl. US Fish & Wildlife removed the dikes, and much of the vegetation, and added a long boardwalk.  Without going into details about all the changes that occurred, I can say for the past several years since the improvements, the refuge looks more like a mudflat or a desert than a healthy productive wetland. I have checked out the Nisqually NWR website and browsed through the restoration plan, but have not found much which explains why these tidal flats are still not springing back.  The report has several photos taken of specific sites showing before and after shots.  The before photos show what appears to be a healthy green wetland, while the after photos show what appears to be a dying wetland.  And as the time continues, the sites appear to get worse, rather than improve.

Regardless, kayaking through the wildlife refuge while still very enjoyable can leave a lot to be desired, especially since there doesn’t seem to be the numbers of birds and wildlife I remember seeing in earlier years.  I can only hope that with time the refuge will begin to revert back to its lush green environment with a very diverse wildlife population, and healthy clear flowing waters.  Time will tell, and Mother nature is not always in a hurry.


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