Oakland Bay is a small, relatively broad and shallow estuary approximately four miles long and ¾ of a mile wide with water depths averaging 10-35 feet. A large area of the foreshore is exposed to air at low tides. This inter-tidal zone is predominately mud flats with narrow deeper channels. Due to the restrictive nature of Hammersley Inlet, the long narrow waterway linking the bay to the Puget Sound Basin, the water in Oakland Bay has high refluxing, low flushing and high retention rates. There are nine major creeks: Deer, Cranberry, Campbell, Johns, Uncle John, Malaney, Shelton, Mill and Goldsborough. The drainages of these creeks, together with the shoreline drainage have been used to define the Oakland Bay Action Plan Focus Area.

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Currently, Oakland Bay is one of the most productive commercial shellfish growing areas in the country. Much of the nation’s manila clam harvest is grown here, as well as high-value oysters. Approximately three million pounds of clams and 1.8 million pounds of oysters are harvested yearly. There are 21 shellfish growers in Oakland Bay in addition to the Squaxin Island Tribe. Some of the public and private beaches in the area support recreational shellfish harvesting. Approximately 2000 recreational harvesting licenses are obtained for the area each year.