Resource Management

Black Crowned Night-heron on Sign

A wildlife refuge surrounded by millions of people offers unique challenges and opportunities.

The lands that make up the Don Edwards Refuge have been significantly altered over the last 200 years.  Its location in the midst of a large populace can pose several challenges.  The refuge is actively engaged in several management activities to ensure habitat is healthy and to preserve species diversity.  

Current activities focus on endangered species and migratory birds surveys; wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement; grassland and vernal pool management; non-native species control; environmental education; interpretation; and offering opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography.     

Wetland Restoration

One of the priorities of the refuge is to restore and enhance habitat.  Wetlands restoration will provide key habitat for endangered species and other native plant and wildlife species.  The refuge is currently involved with the largest tidal wetland restoration on the West Coast named the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.  This project will convert 15,100 acres of former industrial salt ponds owned by the refuge and the state of California to a mix of tidal marsh, mudflat, managed pond, open water, and other wetland habitats. 

Endangered Species Monitoring

Threatened and endangered species are monitored regularly to track any changes from year to year, and to generate population estimates.  Sensitive species monitored on the Don Edwards Refuge are the endangered Ridgway's Rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, Contra Costa goldfields, and the threatened Western Snowy Plover and California Tiger Salamander.  Other non-listed species are monitored as result of these surveys.  Migratory bird surveys are conducted annually to determine avian diversity and abundance, and fish and sub-tidal invertebrate surveys are conducted in newly restored tidal habitats as part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

Wildlife and Habitat Protection

There are other management activities that are particularly important due to the refuge's urban setting.  These management activities include weed control, predator management for the protection of threatened and endangered species, mosquito management, and fire prevention.  

Wildlife-oriented Recreation

Several environmental education and interpretive programs at the Don Edwards Refuge are available to communities surrounding the refuge to enjoy.  Other types of wildlife-oriented programming are also offered and designed to encourage individuals to learn and appreciate the natural environment in which they live.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge.

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.  Learn more.


More information about specific refuge management can be found in the Planning Documents page.