Resource Management

View of San Joaquin River

The Contra Costa wallflower, seen here in the foreground, is just one of three endangered species the Antioch Dunes NWR was created for.


Management of habitat for the Antioch Dunes evening primrose, the Contra Costa wallflower, and the host plant for the Lange's metalmark butterfly is labor intensive. In areas where sand was mined down to the clay substrate, the refuge has imported and reconstructed sand dunes.

Seeds collected from the plants are grown in a nursery for replanting on the refuge. A combination of prescribed burning, mowing, dune reconstruction, hand-weeding, and herbicides are being employed to remove exotic vegetation and improve the substrate for native seedling establishment.

Surveys of all three species, plus other species of special concern, are conducted annually. Applied management research is being conducted in order to develop a comprehensive plan for managing sand dune habitat on the refuge over time.

Fence maintenance and law enforcement are conducted to protect the resources from disturbance and uncontrolled fires.

Management Activities 

To help plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers any management techniques and employ them in varying degrees according to the situation. Current management actions include: 

  • Annual surveys of the Lange's metalmark butterfly, Contra Costa wallflower, and the Antioch Dunes evening primrose.
  • Weed control through techniques such as chemical, biological, mechanical, or cultural removal.
  • Sand importation to create new sand dunes.
  • Revegetation with endangered and a variety of native dune plants.
  • Firebreaks to contain prescribed burns and prevent spread of wildfires caused by trespassers.
  • Controlled public access to the refuge.