About the Refuge

Coachella Valley Finge-toed Lizard

 In passing the Endangered Species act, Congress recognized that threatened and endangered plants and wildlife have educational, scientific, historical, and aesthetic values and should thus be preserved as part of the nation's natural heritage. As a result of this legislation, the Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge was created.  It is closed to the public and serves as a shelter for many desert species.

Established in 1985 as part of the Coachella Valley Preserve, the Refuge serves as a sanctuary for the rare Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard and many other desert dwelling species. This lizard, federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, is not found any where else in the world.

The 3,709-acre Refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Preserve, on the other hand, is cooperatively managed by The Nature Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Center for Natural Lands Management. Both the Refuge and the Preserve protect the only remaining undeveloped sand dune ecosystem within the Coachella Valley. This blow-sand habitat is home to one of the most ecologically diverse communities found in the deserts of North America. Furthermore, many of the species of plants and animals that the dunes provide a home for are extremely rare, found only in this particular area. These species have evolved through time leaving them dependent on this dynamic sand dune habitat.