Field Trip Report 1:  Skagit and Padilla Bays


We will go to three sites on Skagit Bay:  Headquarters (low salinity), Brown’s Slough (moderate salinity), Jensen Access (moderate to high salinity).  On Padilla Bay we will go to Indian Slough (high salinity).


Notice how salinity affects productivity (standing biomass).  List the dominant species that you find in areas of low, medium and high salinity.  Collect samples of these plants in baggies.

Drainage (aeration)

Poorly drained areas often have mucky deep sediment and sparse vegetation.  Note what kinds of plants are found in poorly drained sites.

Tidal inundation

In tidal systems, part of the marsh is seldom flooded (high marsh), and parts are flooded often and deeply.  As the flooding increases, the number of species that can tolerate the inundation decreases.  Note what species are found in the high marsh, and what species are found out next to the edge of the bay where flooding is frequent.


  1.  Make a list of plants that do well in low salinity.
  2. Make another list of plants that do well in high salinity.
  3. And make a list of plants that do well in intermediate salinity.
  4. What species are found in poorly drained sites?
  5. What species are found at lower elevations where tidal inundation is more frequent and the water at high tide is deeper.
  6. How does salinity affect productivity?
  7. How does tidal inundation affect species diversity?