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East Sand Island

East Sand Island is a natural island near the mouth of the Columbia River. It is capped with dredge spoil at the east end, contains a stone jetty at the west end, and is surrounded by extensive sand and mud flats at low tide.

Red Marker East Sand Island
East Sand Island is a natural island near the mouth of the Columbia River. It is capped with dredge spoil at the east end, contains a stone jetty at the west end, and is surrounded by extensive sand and mud flats at low tide.

Location: About 5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia River, closer to Washington than Oregon mainland.

Description: East Sand Island is a highly modified natural island, low-lying, long, and narrow, about 1 kilometer in length and about 200 meters wide at its widest, with an area of about 50 acres. It is composed entirely of coarse sand with a thin topsoil layer, capped with dredge spoil at the east end and a stone jetty at the west end. There is a large tidal pond near the west end, but otherwise the soil is generally well-drained. The island is densely vegetated in the midsection, with the interior covered with Scotch Broom, Hooker's Willow, Red Alder, and a few young Douglas Fir. The shoreline is dominated by European Beachgrass and American Dunegrass. Agricultural lands along the river and intertidal marshes in the estuary provide substantial habitat along the lower river, which is surrounded by extensive sand and mud flats at low tide.

Ornithological Highlights:  East Sand Island is the nesting site of the largest Caspian Tern colony in the world, as well as a breeding site for Double-crested and Brandt's Cormorants and several species of gulls. Small numbers of Pigeon Guillemots nest at the west end of the island.

The island is also a heavily used roost site and seasonal migration stopover for Brown Pelicans, Pelagic Cormorants, three species of loons, and a variety of ducks and geese. Shorebirds are abundant during spring and fall migration with substantial numbers overwintering in the estuary. Raptors occur as residents, migrants and/or wintering birds, with Bald Eagles relatively abundant. Peregrine Falcons are also present.

For more information on East Sand Island, please see the Technical Site Report in the National IBA database.

46.26194 -123.9856

Location: About 5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia River, closer to Washington than Oregon mainland.

Description: East Sand Island is a highly modified natural island, low-lying, long, and narrow, about 1 kilometer in length and about 200 meters wide at its widest, with an area of about 50 acres. It is composed entirely of coarse sand with a thin topsoil layer, capped with dredge spoil at the east end and a stone jetty at the west end. There is a large tidal pond near the west end, but otherwise the soil is generally well-drained. The island is densely vegetated in the midsection, with the interior covered with Scotch Broom, Hooker's Willow, Red Alder, and a few young Douglas Fir. The shoreline is dominated by European Beachgrass and American Dunegrass. Agricultural lands along the river and intertidal marshes in the estuary provide substantial habitat along the lower river, which is surrounded by extensive sand and mud flats at low tide.

Ornithological Highlights:  East Sand Island is the nesting site of the largest Caspian Tern colony in the world, as well as a breeding site for Double-crested and Brandt's Cormorants and several species of gulls. Small numbers of Pigeon Guillemots nest at the west end of the island.

The island is also a heavily used roost site and seasonal migration stopover for Brown Pelicans, Pelagic Cormorants, three species of loons, and a variety of ducks and geese. Shorebirds are abundant during spring and fall migration with substantial numbers overwintering in the estuary. Raptors occur as residents, migrants and/or wintering birds, with Bald Eagles relatively abundant. Peregrine Falcons are also present.

For more information on East Sand Island, please see the Technical Site Report in the National IBA database.

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