You are here: Home Policy Issues Puget Sound’s Aquatic Reserves Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve

Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve

Join the Citizen Stewardship Committee for the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve!

Please email Maddie Foutch at if you are interested in joining or learning more!

Photo from DNR

Location: The Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic reserve encompasses about 36,308 acres stretching from the northern boundary of Joseph Whidbey State Park to just south of the southern boundary of Fort Ebey State Park along the western coast of Whidbey Island. The boundary then stretches seaward out along bathymetric contours out to a point northwest of Smith and Minor Islands. The boundary then runs east back to the northern boundary of Joseph Whidbey State Park.

Unique Ecosystem Characteristics:

  • Bird Population: There are 78 bird species that have been identified to use the area in and around the Smith & Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve. Smith and Minor Islands are important nesting sites for Glaucous-winged Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, Rhinoceros Auklets, Black Oystercatchers, and Tufted Puffins. Smith Island is one of only two areas in Puget Sound where Rhinoceros Auklets are concentrated. Bald Eagles also have a large presence within the reserve with the only ground nesting pair in the entire state residing on Minor Island.

Photo from DNR

  • Fish population: 75 fish species have been identified within the area including all five species of salmon found in the sound.
  • Mammal Population: 11 mammal species have been identified within the reserve including the threatened Stellar Sea lion and endangered Killer Whale
  • Macro Algae: This reserve houses the largest bull kelp beds in Washington, a critical habitat for many fish species. There are also an array of reproductive, foraging and rearing habitats present in the reserve providing a home for many fish and bird species.

    History of the Reserve: The management plan and Commissioner’s Order for Smith and Minor was signed in 2010.

    Partner Organization: Whidbey Watershed Stewards (

    Smith and Minor Islands Citizen Stewardship Committee Area (Coming soon)

    For more information contact Maddie Foutch at