Shutdown Notice
Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, this website will not be updated until further notice. Where public access to refuge lands does not require the presence of a federal employee or contractor, activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue on the same terms as before the appropriations lapse. Any entry onto Refuge System property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor's sole risk. Please read this important updated message about the closure of National Wildlife Refuge System facilities during the shutdown, and refer to alerts posted on individual refuge websites for the status of visitor facilities and previously scheduled events that may still occur during the shutdown.

For more information, please visit the Department of Interior webpage at


Agua fire 2018

Agua Fire on the Refuge

On November 27, 2018 a fire broke out on an easement next to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge near Proctor Valley on Agua Vista Drive.

Agua Fire on San Diego National Wildlife Refuge


New Parking Area Planned - Public Comment Period Closes January 10

December 7, 2018 parking lot figure thumb

The new 40-space parking lot, with 5 pull-through trailer spaces, will start construction in Fiscal Year 2020. It will support pedestrian, equestrian, and mountain bike users of the Refuge's Sweetwater River Trail, as well as volunteer and environmental education programs. Read here for more information and the recently completed Environmental Assessment.

New Visitor Parking Area Planned

Quino checkerspot butterfly recovery

November 6, 2017 quino on pentachaeta by spring strahm

Endangered Quino checkerspot butterflies are getting a new chance to re-establish on the refuge, now two years in the making. The last release of captive-bred quino larvae from the San Diego Zoo took place in November of 2018. We are looking forward to some rain, and hopefully a new cohort of butterflies on the refuge this coming spring 2019! Read the latest story here in the San Diego Union Tribune:

Recovery plan for endangered butterfly takes wing in San Diego
We are an Urban Refuge

The SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project

Urban Wildlife Refuge circle sticker logo

On August 13, 2014, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director Dan Ashe announced a new $1M annual award for the SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project. This effort spans across the San Diego NWR Complex, Los Angeles, and the Hopper Mountain NWR Complex in Ventura. The project connects urban audiences with nature in their backyards, and engages Southern California communities and youth in wildlife conservation.

SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project

About the Complex

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS