Bowerman Basin provides essential habitat for a diversity of birds. It hosts approximately 45 percent of the migrating shorebirds in Gray's Harbor, which is one of four estuaries in North America that supports more than one million shorebirds during migration. Bowerman Basin is home to shorebirds year-round, but is a critically important staging site during spring migration. The broad tidal flats produce an abundance of Corophium, a shrimp-like amphipod that is a vital part of the estuarine food chain and a key food source for shorebirds. Densities of Corophium as high as 55,000 per square meter have been recorded in parts of Bowerman Basin. The basin is listed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as priority wintering habitat for Peregrine Falcons.
Land adjoining the refuge is zoned for heavy industrial development. In recent years, several proposals have been made to convert the land currently occupied by the airport to heavy industrial facilities. Such conversion would create disturbance and pose the threat of pollution in the basin. Like many shallow-water estuaries along the coast, Bowerman Basin is vulnerable to invasion by Spartina, a non-native cordgrass.
2013 Assessment based on BLM Oregon/Washington Surface Management Ownership dataset (http://www.blm.gov/or/gis/data-details.php?data=ds000011) and Washington Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Land Ownership Parcels (http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/app1/dataweb/dmmatrix.html).