Stewardship in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Stewardship in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System provides long-term protection of natural resources within the System's 28 Reserves and serves to model responsible management practices to coastal communities.

Stewardship involves aspects of research, monitoring, education, policy, and implementation of resource management actions. Many Reserves, including Padilla Bay Reserve, have a Stewardship Coordinator that works as part of an integrated team with other staff members.

Since Reserve resources are often affected by activities on adjacent waters and watershed lands, stewardship involves close cooperation with stakeholders outside the Reserve. Stewardship activities vary among Reserves due to different state partnership structures and since each Reserve contains unique resources and issues.

Stewardship at Padilla Bay Reserve

Padilla Bay is situated in a landscape that includes agriculture, industry, and areas with residential and recreational uses. It is also an area of increasing population, bringing more development and all the associated pressures on the natural environment. Human activities such as shipping, shellfish culture and other practices introduced non-native species to the bay. The impacts of these introductions are still not fully understood. The role of stewardship at Padilla Bay is to:

  • Monitor change in the watershed and in the Reserve.
  • Educate people living in the watershed and near the Reserve so they can help us care for the resource (i.e. protect water quality, dispose of waste properly, use integrated pest/weed management, etc.)
  • Balance the uses and protective measures as best we can.

All staff members at Padilla Bay Reserve participate in stewardship on some level.


For questions on Padilla Bay Stewardship, please contact the reserve at (360) 428-1558.