Habitat Managament

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Tundra swans begin arriving in late December and use Refuge habitat through the winter until returning to the north for nesting.

  • Salmon Creek Unit Restoration

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    Salmon Creek within the Refuge boundaries was historically tidal salt marsh with complex slough channels.  However, these lands were reclaimed for grazing during the early 1900’s through construction of dikes and levees, draining of salt marshes, straightening or relocation of stream channels, and installation of tide-gates to eliminate tidal influence.  After these lands were acquired by Humboldt Bay NWR, management plans identified Salmon Creek as needing habitat improvements to reestablish estuarine and off-channel habitat. In 1993, the Refuge began restoring Salmon Creek to reflect historical conditions.

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  • Dune Restoration

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    The Refuge’s Lanphere Dunes Unit is home to the first dune restoration project on the west coast. Restoration began in the 1980s with early experiments to control invasive European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria). By the early 1990s The Nature Conservancy (the past owner) began a large-scale mechanical eradication project that took 6 years to complete. This project became a template for dune restoration projects throughout the west coast and beyond. Most importantly, it demonstrated that by removing over-stabilizing beachgrass and other invasive plants, essential dune processes were restored, fostering the recovery of the ecosystem. Since that time, dune restoration has continued to evolve and expand. On our local dunes, over 7 miles of coastline have been restored in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, and plans are in the works that will more than double this number.

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  • Invasive Species Management

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    Invasive species are non-native species (plants or animals) that adversely affect the habitats they invade economically, environmentally or ecologically. At Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, all of the currently managed invasive species are plants. There are a variety of ways in which an invasive plant can harm native species, habitats, or ecosystems.

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  • Wetland Management

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    Freshwater and brackish marshes (FBM) are extremely valuable habitat types for a large variety of birds, and contribute to the abundance and diversity of wildlife found at the Humboldt Bay NWR today. These two habitat types help sustain a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, passerines, and wading birds, as well as the raptors that prey upon them and other animals. In addition, otters, weasels, frogs, salamanders, and invertebrates use freshwater marsh habitat. By managing water levels and manipulating vegetative and soil conditions, the Refuge is able to create a wetland complex that provides the resources necessary to maintain such a diversity of wildlife.

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  • Upland and Pasture Management

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    Most of the short grass pastures on the Refuge were established when the former land owners constructed dikes, drained salt marshes, and planted perennial grasses in order to graze cattle.  Over time these areas have subsided to elevations below mudflats in the bay, making salt marsh restoration extremely difficult and expensive.  However short grass pastures do have tremendous value to wildlife.

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