Dabob Bay is one of the largest and highest quality salt marsh estuaries in Puget Sound. It is located at the North end of Hood Canal near Quilcene, and is vital habitat for orca whales, chinook and chum salmon, forage fish such as sand lance and surf smelt, shellfish and many species of shorebirds. The Conservancy protects this site because of its high natural diversity and significant ecological importance to the Hood Canal and Puget Sound regions.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Dabob Bay Natural Area is the land range most critical to the health of the Dabob Bay estuary. The Dabob Bay Coordination Group, a partnership among DNR, The Nature Conservancy, the Jefferson Land Trust and the Northwest Watershed Institute, is focused on acquiring land from willing sellers and stewarding lands within this scientifically established boundary.
In 2011, The Nature Conservancy purchased a total of 400 acres within the Dabob Bay Natural Area. This acquisition will be transferred to DNR who will maintain it as part of the larger natural area, with opportunities for low-impact public use. This will be the latest development in the Conservancy’s more than 25 year history of conservation at Dabob, which began with the establishment of a conservation easement on one of the three coastal spits in 1986.
Dabob is home to six family owned shellfish companies including our partners Taylor Shellfish and Rock Point Oyster Company. Our conservation efforts protect shellfish and industry by reducing mudslides from the steep banks and ensuring that clean, fresh water runs down the streams into Dabob Bay.
The Nature Conservancy also partners with the United States Navy to protect the environment as well as the Navy’s underwater range at Dabob Bay where they develop and test underwater systems. The Navy is committed to ensuring the compatibility of its ecological footprint with marine life and water quality, and The Nature Conservancy helps them strengthen their conservation efforts.
The Conservancy is seeking to reconnect coastal forests and freshwater systems to the marine waters of Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Protecting and restoring natural shorelines in Dabob Bay is key to the overall restoration of Hood Canal and Puget Sound.