Elger Bay Preserve

End of Rainbow

Because of Elger Bay's unique location we have a wonderful opportunity to share hands-on environmental learning with our students. We are fortunate to have local community involvement that help keep the Elger Bay Trail and Beaver Marsh Preserve clean and well-marked. They often involve Elger Bay students with planting native fauna and teach them about non-native invasive plants. We also have an amphitheater built with a Lowe's grant applied for by our PTA!

Elger Bay Elementary is a certified wildlife habitat

The students of our school have a unique opportunity to visit and learn about our local wildlife, habitats, and native plant life right in their own back yard! The Elger Bay Nature Trail Head is located by EBE's parking lot. The "Friends of Camano Island Parks" maintain the trail and provide EBE with valuable learning tools and instruction. Classes uses the trail frequently for everything from exercise to science studies.

See more photos of the preserve, CLICK HERE

Elger Bay Preserve Beaver Marsh

When the glacier that once covered Camano Island melted over 10,000 years ago, it left the shallow, saucer shaped depression that you see. Precipitation from the watershed collects in this depression. In the years since this area was last logged in the 1980's, beavers have built a dam along E. Camano Drive at the outlet from the Marsh, raising the water level. The water discharged from the Marsh flows under E. Camano Drive, down an unnamed seasonal stream through the Country Club Third Beach area, to Port Susan Bay. Because of the steepness of the terrain near the beach, salmon are not able to access the stream or marsh.

The Marsh provides habitat for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. These reptiles and amphibians, including numerous frogs, provide food for the Great Blue Heron. The surrounding lands provide additional food for Bald Eagle, Red Tail Hawk, and Osprey. Belted Kingfisher, various ducks, and many smaller song birds, such as the Red Winged Blackbird, find food and nesting areas in the marsh vegetation.

The Elger Bay Preserve Beaver Marsh is a good example of a healthy palustrine scrub/shrub wetland. A large majority of the plant species are native, with the notable exception of Himalayan Blackberry which is seen in some of the drier upland areas. Some of the plant species require year round saturated soils. Other species can tolerate saturated soils, but at the same time can tolerate the soil drying out as the water level falls during the dry summer months. These plants grow around the edges of the marsh. All the plants add to the food chain and are a source of nutrients and organic carbon. Many of the products of the marsh eventually reach the nearshore of Camano along Port Susan Bay where they nourish the salmon, forage fish, and crab which inhabit our shoreline habitats. This fragile ecosystem is in your care.

The platform, benches, and trail were constructed by volunteers with Friends of Camano Island Parks (FOCIP). Materials for the platform were donated by Cascade Lumber. Elger Bay Preserve is managed by Island Co. Parks on land leased from the Department of Natural Resources. We hope you enjoy your visit.