Areas of Interest
Refuge HistoryResource Management - Refuge History - Habitat Types - Habitat Management - Waterfowl Surveys - Monitoring/Research - Endangered Species
For thousands of years the Sacramento Valley has provided a winter haven for ducks, geese, and swans. Waterfowl migrate here by the millions from as far away as the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. The five national wildlife refuges and three wildlife management areas of the Sacramento NWR Complex are an island in a sea of agriculture in the Sacramento Valley of California. This valley represents the single most important wintering area for waterfowl along the Pacific Flyway.
Vast Wetlands and Grasslands Once Existed Here
With the development of agriculture, in the late 1800's and early 1900's, natural habitat was replaced with rice and other crops. Waterfowl substituted these farm crops for their original wetland foods causing serious losses for farmers.
Today, over 90% of California's wetlands are gone, along with the pronghorn and grizzly bear. New wetlands cannot be created naturally since levees have been constructed to confine the river for irrigation and flood control. However, the birds continue to fly their ancient routes along the Pacific Flyway and crowd into the remaining wintering habitat. The refuges provide a significant amount of the wintering habitat for waterfowl in the Sacramento Valley.
Sacramento NWR Complex
752 County Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988
Phone: (530) 934-2801; Fax: (530) 934-7814
24-hour Information: (530) 934-7774
TTY: (530) 934-7135
August 17, 2009