Thursday, November 17, 2016

Samish Island: No Ferry Needed

Due to a cottage and Lisa's studio being on Samish Island, I have (and Lisa) had to explain that one can drive to Samish Island. Samish Island is barely an island.

Road to Samish Island as seen from the island
Alice bay is on the left and swampy fields on the right

The island is connected to the mainland via tidal mash and tidal flats where dikes were built to create farm land during early American settlement. The initial survey map shows a narrow continuous water connection across the area shown in the picture above.

It should be noted that the water covered areas of the map, Samish Bay on the far right, Alice Bay on right and Padilla Bay on the left all become mud flats during low tides. Very high tides would inundate the marsh land if not for the dikes that keep the high tide water out.

In the early days of American settlement, building dikes to farm areas of delta land was a quick way to develop farm land as little tree and brush clearing was needed. The down side is maintaining drainage. The lower areas become difficult to maintain and over time some of these areas have been abandoned as farm land, at least in part due to drainage problems or periodic inundation with sea water.

River flooding into the delta creates a situation where the dikes used to keep the sea water out end up holding the flood waters in and Samish Island becomes an island once again.

1990 flooding of Samish Flats south of Samish Island

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