The West Bay Woods is a remnant shoreline forest on the western shoreline of the Deschutes Estuary. The bluffs over West Bay Drive historically fed the beaches of the Deschutes Estuary. Today the forest is separated from the tidal waters by post-industrial fill. Though degraded, logged in the early settlement period, and farmed in places, many glimpses remain of what the forest once was.
Along West Bay Drive, there are large areas that are still forested with 100-year old trees that provide habitat for many kinds of birds: Pacific great blue heron, bald eagles, owls, several kinds of hawk, falcons, and many others. It is not uncommon to find shells from the shoreline on the forest floor. On the ground, there are another group of animals that depend on these forested areas for their habitat, including deer, fox, mountain beaver, and coyote. Wetlands and seasonal streams scattered through the area feed water into these sensitive environments that are linked and dependent on each other.
The West Bay Woods also play an important role in water quality in the Deschutes Estuary. Untreated stormwater carries many toxins into Budd Inlet, including compounds that are lethal to Coho salmon. The woods act as a buffer between the Northwest neighborhood in the rapidly urbanizing Olympia and Puget Sound. Olympia Ecosystems acquired several strategic properties to enable untreated stormwater from the Northwest neighborhood to be detoxified with green infrastructure. Altogether, the West Bay Woods preserve is approximately 22 acres in urban Olympia.
Olympia Ecosystems is currently working on three large-scale restoration projects in the West Bay Woods: Stormwater Park North, Stormwater Park South, and the West Bay Park Connector.