About the Steve Thompson North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area

Llano Seco Unit T13c2 by Steve Emmons

The Steve Thompson North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area is part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.  It is located across 11 counties in California's Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Delta.  It consists primarily of conservation easements on privately-owned wetlands, but also includes one 1,732 acre fee-title property known as the  Llano Seco Unit .

The Steve Thompson North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area was established in 1991 with the primary purpose of preserving wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species.  It has an acquisition boundary which includes 11 counties (Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Placer, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba) and encompasses most of the Sacramento Valley floor from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Red Bluff, California (click here to see a map).  It includes 28 conservation easements on approximately 14,740 acres of privately-owned wetlands, but also includes the 1,732 acre fee-title property known as the  Llano Seco Unit. The landscape is very flat, bordered by the Sierra and Coast ranges and is surrounded by intensive agriculture. 


Most of the Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMA's conservation easements lie within the Butte, Yolo and Sutter Basins.  Made up of mostly managed wetlands, these easements support hundreds of thousands of wintering waterfowl, as well as tens of thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds and large numbers of State-listed as threatened greater sandhill cranes.  Included in these easements are some of the most important privately-owned waterfowl sanctuaries in the Central Valley.

The  Llano Seco Unit  supports large populations of wintering waterfowl, State-listed as threatened greater sandhilll cranes, and bald eagles. A popular destination for visitors, the Llano Seco Unit provides opportunities for wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation. There is a 1/2-mile walking trail and one observation platform and a viewing area open to the public from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.