U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Wildlife Refuge
|Getting There: From Blythe, go
approximately 3 miles west on I-10 to Neighbours Boulevard/78 exit.
Go south on Neighbours for 12 milesto the Cibola Bridge.
After crossing the bridge, continue south for 3.5 miles to headquarters.
When was it established?
Cibola NWR is located in the floodplain of the lower Colorado River and surrounded by a fringe of desert ridges and washes. The refuge encompasses both the historic Colorado River channel as well as a channelized portion constructed in the late 1960's. Along with these main waterbodies, several important backwaters are home to many wildlife species that reside in this portion of the Sonoran Desert. Because of the riverís life sustaining water, wildlife here survive in an environment that reaches 120 degrees in the summer and receives an average of only 2 inches of rain per year. We invite you to visit and enjoy the many wildlife-oriented activities the refuge has to offer and enjoy the scenic beauty of this oasis in the desert.
Over 288 species of birds have been found on Cibola NWR, including many species of migratory songbirds, Gambelís quail, roadrunners, mourning and white-winged doves, phainopepla, greater sandhill cranes, Canada and snow geese, Vermilion flycatchers, grosbeaks and many more. The bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher and Yuma clapper rail are among the endangered birds that use Cibola NWR. Other listed species include the desert tortoise, razorback sucker, bonytail chub, and desert pupfish.
It is not uncommon to see desert mule deer, bobcat, and coyotes on the refuge, particularly while driving the auto tour loop in the early morning or evening. Management of farm fields along with restoration of wetlands and moist soil units provide habitat for thousands of Canada geese that migrate to Cibola in the winter. About 85% of Arizonaís wintering goose population resides on Cibola NWR.
A host of species reside on the refuge year-around. Many of the aquatic birds nest in the backwaters of the river. It is a common sight to see western and Clarkís grebe young riding on their parentsí back in Cibola Lake during the spring. Other common sights may include a heron and egret rookery, nesting mourning and white-winged doves, barn owls, burrowing owls, kestrels, white-faced ibis and more.
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The refuge is working hard to restore native vegetation to the lower Colorado River in order to provide essential habitat to the many species of wildlife that depend upon it. The greenbelt of the Colorado River is an important migratory corridor for a host of birds and we want to insure that stopover habitat is available to those that are making their thousand mile journey through this area. In addition to removing exotic salt cedar trees and planting native vegetation such as cottonwoods, willows, and mesquites, the refuge is also restoring historic river meanders, constructing moist soil units, and growing alfalfa and cereal grains for the wintering waterfowl.
The refuge also provides artificial homes for wildlife such as the burrowing owl and kestrel. Both of these species readily accept man-made homes to roost and nest. You will see these as you drive around the auto tour loop.
Visit the Cibola Lake overlook located at the southern end of the refuge and view grebes, ducks, pelicans, geese, cormorants, terns, and more from an elevated cliff overlooking the southern end of the lake. Cibola Lake is closed from Labor Day to March 15 in order to provide the wintering waterfowl a safe and undisturbed place to roost, but you can enjoy them from a distance on the overlook.
Please remember the following rules while visiting the refuge. Remember, we are guests in the homes of the wildlife.
Hunters may apply online for the 2011/2012 Cibola NWR Unit II goose hunt by visiting http://www.cibolapermits.com/ and completing the application process and submitting the required fees.
A $15.00 application fee is required for all hunters applying for permits. Kinsail will be accepting applications starting September 6th, ending October 9, 2011. Applicants will be notified via email by October 21st if they have been selected for the hunt. Successful applicants must purchase a $15.00 hunt permit for each hunter in their hunt party to secure their spot.
Hunters unable to apply online may also request a paper application form from the refuge office. Any paper forms must be sent to Cibola NWR, Attn: Kinsail Corporation, PO Box 7087, Arlington, VA 22207 and received by October 9, 2011 to be considered.
All checks, money orders, or cashiers checks must be made out to Kinsail Corporation. For a copy of updated Unit II hunt regulations contact or visit the refuge office.
All incomplete and illegible applications will not be considered in the drawing process. Applications without required fees will also be discarded. Hunters are reminded that those applying for dates in January 2012 must have a 2012 Arizona hunting license number to participate in the reservation drawing for blinds.
NOTE* A returned check will result in automatic disqualification from the hunt for this hunt season.
The majority of Cibola NWR is located in Arizona, but some areas along the Old River Channel are located in California. Hunters are required to possess hunting licenses and stamps from the state in which they are hunting. Arizona hunting licenses may be purchased in Cibola or Ehrenberg, Arizona or on-line through the Arizona Game and Fish Departments website (www.azgfd.com). California hunting licenses may be purchased in Blythe, California. Migratory bird hunting requires both state and federal waterfowl stamps. Arizona hunters must also possess the Arizona Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp. Federal Waterfowl Stamps may be purchased at the refuge headquarters during business hours.
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Cibola NWR provides opportunities to fish for the following species:
Possession of the Colorado River fishing stamp allows licensed anglers of either California or Arizona to fish any open area on the refuge.
Cibola Lake and adjoining lands are closed to all activities from Labor Day to March 15 in order to provide a safe and undisturbed area for the wintering waterfowl. Fishing, however, is permitted in a boat on the main channel of the Colorado River and all land and water to the west.
Please see the refuge fishing brochure for complete information on fishing on Cibola NWR.
|Help Protect the
To protect floating waterbird nests and minimize disturbance, all backwaters on the refuge are no-wake zones. These areas include Cibola Lake, Pretty Water, Three Fingers Lake, Hart Mine Marsh, and the Old River Channel.
Pets must be leashed while on the refuge, except dogs used while
hunting. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their
Pets must be leashed while on the refuge, except dogs used while hunting. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their animals.
If You See A Violation
If you see what you believe is a violation of refuge rules, please phone 800-637-9152, and report what you have seen. This is the Phoenix Federal Interagency Dispatch Center and they will take the report and notify the appropriate Law Enforcement Officer.
We are looking for friendly, enthusiastic, hardworking volunteers to help with computer and clerical work, biological projects, environmental education, light and heavy field work, and construction projects. If you have the skills and desire, we can find a place for you. Contact Cibola NWR r2w_cifws.gov or 928/857-3253 for more information about volunteering.
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