Whale Tail"Marine resources" is a broad, encompassing phrase that incorporates marine life- flora and fauna, from algae to eelgrass, from microscopic organisms to orcas- and marine habitats- from the deep waters to the intertidal regions to the upland shore and estuarine areas. A broad range of people utilize and interact with the marine environment: boaters, kayakers, sports fishermen, commercial fishermen, shellfish harvesters, both recreational and commercial, scientists, builders, industry, recreational users and numerous others. Marine systems and their resources are a vital and integral part of our existence..

StarfishThe waters of Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca comprise a rich and diverse marine ecosystem. Rocky shores provide excellent habitat for a variety of intertidal life; the deep, open waters of the Straits make for rich feeding and breeding grounds for many marine mammals; and, the areas' estuaries provide protected rearing areas for young salmon and other organisms. But, the health of the ecosystem is in jeopardy. Symptoms of ecosystem stress include declining stocks of salmon, bottomfish, and forage fish; closures of recreational and commercial shellfish beds; degradation and losses of eelgrass beds, kelp forests, and other marine habitats; and dwindling populations of seabirds and marine mammals.

Blue HeronTo learn more about the rich diversity of marine plants and animals in the waters of Puget Sound and Whatcom County, check out our Marine Fact Sheets. These fact sheets provide information on the life cycle, habits and habitats, and the economic value of the various species of flora and fauna found in Whatcom County marine ecosystems. You can also visit the marine shorelines of Whatcom County to explore tidepools, watch the waves, or beachcomb.

Whatcom County Public Works provides administrative and technical support to the Marine Resources Committee, and Drayton Harbor and Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committees. These groups are involved in actions and efforts to restore and preserve the vital marine resources of Whatcom County.