Nehalem Bay – What Wildlife Use the Estuary and Why?

Great Blue Heron – Photo by Paul Atwood, OPRD

Manzanita, Oregon – Estuaries are typically defined as the area where a river meets the sea or the site where freshwater and salt water mix. But estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are so much more than this simple definition. Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and are critical for the health and vitality of communities around the world. They act as a sink for nutrient rich sediments, filter water before it flows into the ocean and act as a buffer protecting us from coastal storms. Estuaries are home to unique plant and animal communities that have adapted to regular tide cycles and changing flows from the river. Many animals rely on estuaries for food, places to breed and migration stopovers.

Locally, the Nehalem estuary spans more than 2,800 acres and encompasses a variety of habitats from freshwater streams, Spruce swamps, tidal sloughs, salt marshes and much more. During their next Speaker Series event, the Lower Nehalem Watershed Council will welcome Paul Atwood, Assistant District Wildlife Biologist with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, for a presentation exploring some of the common wildlife species that use Coastal Oregon estuaries, including Nehalem Bay and the habitats that each species relies on. Many species utilize a variety of different habitats, while others require very specific habitats to meet their needs. The event will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2017, at the Pine Grove Community House (225 Laneda Ave) in Manzanita. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments. The presentation will start at 7:20 p.m. following an update from Lower Nehalem Watershed Council at 7:00 p.m.

Atwood’s presentation is scheduled just two days before the 10th Biennial Nehalem Estuary Cleanup and will highlight why a debris-free estuary is important for salmon, wildlife and people. On March 11, 2017, over 100 volunteers will descend on the Nehalem Estuary to remove trash and recyclables from around the bay. The all-day event culminates in an evening celebration with food, live music, and socializing. The Nehalem Estuary Cleanup is organized by community partners Lower Nehalem Community Trust, Lower Nehalem Watershed Council, CARTM, Nehalem Bay State Park, North Coast Land Conservancy, and Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, with additional support from local businesses and community members. To learn more about the Cleanup or to register as a volunteer, visit

This presentation is part of the Lower Nehalem Watershed Council’s regular Speaker Series. Join us at the Pine Grove Community House each 2nd Thursday in January – May, October and November for natural resource focused presentations. Some of the featured topics for 2017 include salmon recovery, estuary restoration and ocean acidification.

Event Information: Refreshments and snacks will be served. This event is FREE and open to the public. Find more information on our speaker series on our Facebook page (

Date & Location: March 9, 2017 at Pine Grove Community House (225 Laneda Ave, Manzanita)

Time & Agenda:

  • 6:30 p.m. Doors open – Refreshments
  • 7:00 p.m. Council Updates
  • 7:20 p.m. Presentation
  • 8:30 p.m. Adjourn
Roosevelt Elk. -Photo by Paul Atwood, OPRD