Frequently Asked Questions


I was wondering...


What kinds of recreation can I do?

Currently, the refuge provides the public with free daily access on Blue Heron Trails, docent guided hikes, guided paddle trips, bird-watching, special events, environmental education tours for school/civic groups, fishing in designated area, and waterfowl hunting


Is there a Visitor Center?

There is no indoor Visitor Center for educational purposes at this time. For nearby indoor nature Visitor Centers, please visit Cosumnes River Preserve, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, or Cache Creek Nature Preserve


I've found a baby bird, who do I contact?

The refuge is not equipped to take in or care for injured or orphaned animals. Please contact the Sacramento Wildlife Care Association at 916-965-WILD; the California Raptor Center at 530-752-6091 or after hours 530-752-1393; or the California Foundation for Birds of Prey at 916-773-6049 or after hours 916-645-3708. 


Will the refuge ever be developed?

The project boundary for the refuge is 18,000 acres, which is the size the Service hopes the refuge will be one day. For now, the Service manages 6,420 acres within the 18,000 acre boundary, which are protected from development. But the remaining acres are not protected in any way, and could be developed. See About the Refuge page to learn how the refuge may acquire new lands. 


Who manages the refuge?

The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service along with many cooperating partners. See Partners page for listing of who works with the refuge. 


Can the refuge take away land from private owners?

No, the refuge only works with landowners interested in selling their land within the approved project boundary.  See Maps page for refuge maps.  


Why are your wetlands dry in the summer?

Most of the managed wetlands are seasonal, therefore flooded from early fall to late spring. The wetlands are dry for the summer to help control non-desirable vegetation growth, control mosquito populations and promote seasonal wetland plant species. 


Does the refuge have West Nile Virus?

The refuge works closely with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District with monitoring for any avian or mosquito hosted viruses. The refuge does host wild bird populations and mosquitoes, and West Nile Virus has been found at the refuge. Please check the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District website for more information on West Nile Virus in the Central Valley. 


How do I find out about job opportunities?

Jobs with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are listed through the Office of Personnel Management website at


Can I go hunting or fishing on the refuge?

The refuge hosts a general public waterfowl hunt on the Sun River Unit. Currently fishing is allowed in a designated area by boat via Snodgrass Slough. Please see the Fishing Map (680KB PDF) for designated area.  All State license and regulations apply to waterfowl hunting and fishing. Additional nearby hunting and fishing programs are available on the Sacramento NWR, San Luis NWR and Yolo Vic Fazio State wildlife area.


Where can I get current fishing & hunting regulations?

Please see the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for current state regulations, or you may pickup regulation booklets at any local sporting or fishing store. 


What is that lake I see off the Interstate 5 Laguna exit?

That is called Parker Slough and it is connected to a slough which borders the refuge. There is no public access to the Slough. 


Why are there cows on the refuge?

We have a grazing program using cattle to reduce fire danger, encourage native grasses, and improve foraging conditions for migratory birds, such as Sandhill cranes, Swainson's hawks, geese, and waterfowl on the North Stone Lake property. See Resource Management page to learn more about management techniques used on the refuge. 


Does the Sacramento River run along the refuge?

No, the Sacramento River is approximately a mile west of the refuge at it's furthest point. See Maps page for refuge maps.