The fields of Leque Island are again open to the public for walking, bird-watching and waterfowl hunting.

The state Department of Fish & Wildlife recently reopened the island just west of Stanwood following a three-month closure for restoration work, according to a news release.

During the closure, several new channels were dug throughout the island, making way for more water to disperse and to create habitat for fish and birds.

Parking areas off Elde Road remain unchanged.

Maps showing where the new channels are located are posted near the parking areas, and each channel is marked with posts.

Much of Leque Island was once saltwater marsh, which provided habitat for young salmon and other wildlife before dikes were built around it in the early 1900s to allow for farming, according to the release.

Those dikes have been failing over the years, and Fish & Wildlife began purchasing the island in the 1970s for restoration.

The recent work at the site is in preparation for the eventual removal of the dikes, which will allow a saltwater marsh to redevelop on the island.

Leque Island is a 250-acre portion of the Skagit Wildlife Area.

The Skagit Wildlife Area is a group of 16 properties Fish & Wildlife manages in Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan counties that make up 16,700 acres of wildlife habitat.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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