Estuarine Intertidal Sand: Open

These habitats are common, consisting of gently to moderately sloping beaches, often bordered on their uppermost portions by a gravelly or rocky zone. Portions of the large coastal estuaries of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay have sandy substrata. Drift algae and seagrass may accumulate in high zones.

Diagnostic Species

Zostera marina, Gracilaria pacifica, Macoma secta, Malacoceros glutaeus.

Common Associates

The clams Macoma inquinata, Clinocardium nuttallii, Tresus nuttallii, and Tellina modesta; the cumacean Cumella vulgaris, the isopod Gnorimosphaeroma luteum, the polychaetes Mediomastus, Notomastus, Heteromastus filiformis, Streblospio benedicti, Magelona pitelkai, Scoloplos armiger; and the “burrowing” anemone Anthopleura artemisia.   Coastal estuaries also have the amphipod Eohaustorius spp., the tanaid Leptochelia savignyi, the polychaetes Pygospio elegans and Nephtys spp., and the ghost shrimp Callianassa californica. Intertidal sandflats are heavily used as a nursery area by young English sole, Pacific staghorn sculpin, bay goby, and starry flounder, and juvenile chum and chinook salmon feed there.

Sites Surveyed

Dash Point, Seahurst, Seola Beach, Fern Cove, Point Robinson, Dumas Bay, Skiff Point, Cherry Point/Birch Bay, Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay.


Houghton, 1973; Thom et al, 1979; Thom et al., 1984; Schneider and Dube, 1969; Smith and Webber, 1978; Nyblade, 1979a; Thom, 1981.