An Introduction to Ebey's Prairie
The Ebey’s Prairie watershed is located in the central portion of Whidbey Island, Washington. The approximate boundary of the watershed is shown on the Ebey's Watershed Map. The watershed is approximately 2,200 acres in size and is comprised of a mix of land uses including farms and forest lands, residences, businesses, a portion of the Town of Coupeville, Whidbey General Hospital, and public schools. This watershed drains south into Admiralty Inlet, a marine water body designated by Washington State as 'Extraordinary' for protection of aquatic life uses (WAC 173-201A-612). Recreational shellfish harvesting areas are located both east and west of the watershed’s outfall location.
Ebey's Prairie Land Uses
Ebey’s Prairie consists primarily of agricultural lands (1,653 acres, or approximately 75%). An additional 237 acres (11%) lie within the Town of Coupeville and approximately 314 acres (14%) are in forest and/or low-density residential. Like most of Whidbey Island, Ebey’s Prairie depends on an EPA-designated sole source aquifer for its water supplies. Historically, the majority of acreage in the watershed has been used for agriculture since European settlement in the mid-1800’s. Early crops included potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, and hay, as well as sheep, pigs, and dairy and beef cattle. Poultry farms were common in the watershed, many raising turkeys and chickens on pasture. Current crops include barley, seed peas, seed cabbage, winter squash, and alfalfa/ grass hay, Livestock farms predominantly raise beef cattle and dairy replacement heifers. While historically dairy production has been a significant part of the agricultural production of the watershed, there currently is no dairy production with milking cows.