Dungeness Bay, Strait of Juan de Fuca

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Dungeness Bay, Strait of Juan de Fuca

by | May 12, 2020

Dungeness Bay is formed by the Dungeness Spit, located on the southern shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Port Angeles and 6 miles (10 km) northwest of Sequim, Washington. The Dungeness Spit was first recorded by Europeans during the Spanish expedition of 1790 led by Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real. British explorer Captain George Vancouver named the landform in 1792, after the Dungeness headland in England.

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is composed of 773 acres (313 ha) that include Dungeness Spit, Graveyard Spit, and portions of Dungeness Bay and Harbor. The refuge provides habitat for more than 250 species of birds and 41 species of land mammals. Anadromous fish like Chinook, coho, pink salmon and chum salmon occur in the waters of Dungeness Bay and Harbor. Harbor seals haul out to rest and give birth to pups on Dungeness Spit. The tide flats within the bay also support crabs, clams, and other shellfish.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources leases subtidal lands to private businesses and this has been an important area historically for oyster farming since before 1953. An oyster farm is proposed in Dungeness Bay by The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. The tribe purchased an oyster farm here in 1990 and operated it for a few years before it was decertified due to contamination in the bay. The bay has seen significant cleanup efforts over the last few decades and the tribe now seeks to re-establish an oyster farm on the same site. Read more here and here. Explore more of Dungeness Bay here:

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