Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is composed of Clear Lake Reservoir and surrounding uplands. The reservoir functions primarily as a water storage facility for the Klamath Reclamation Project. Historically, Clear Lake was the source of the Lost River watershed which flowed from Clear Lake to it's terminal basin at Tule Lake. It was originally a closed hydraulic system known as an endorheic basin. An endorheic basin retains its water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water.

Visit Us

Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public access to protect fragile habitats and to reduce disturbance to wildlife.

We encourage you to start your visit at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. There are a variety of exhibits, displays, brochures and wildlife-oriented programs. Refuge staff and volunteers are available to answer questions and help plan activities. Inquire at the information desk for further details. The Refuge Visitor Center and headquarters, is located at 4009 Hill Road, Tulelake, CA 96134 and can be reached by calling (530) 667-2231

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Established in 1911, this 46,460 acre refuge consists of approximately 20,000 acres of open water surrounded by upland habitat of bunchgrass, low sagebrush sagebrush
      The western United States’ sagebrush country encompasses over 175 million acres of public and private lands. The sagebrush landscape provides many benefits to our rural economies and communities, and it serves as crucial habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including the iconic greater sage-grouse and over 350 other species.

      Learn more about sagebrush
      , and juniper. Small, rocky islands in the lake provide nesting sites for the American white pelican, double-crested cormorant, and other colonial nesting birds. The upland areas serve as habitat for pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and sage grouse.

      Projects and Research

      Sage Grouse Population and Habitat Recovery

      Clear Lake NWR has one of the last known greater sage grouse leks in NE California​, down from over fifty active leks in the mid 20th century​.  ​S​ince then, sage grouse numbers have declined precipitously.  Leks are relatively open areas in the sage steppe traditionally used each spring by male sage grouse to strut and display to attract female grouse.  ​Spring c​ounts of males on the lek has been​ the traditional​ ​way​ to assess sage grouse populations.  Spring of 1992 had over 60 males counted at Clear Lake.  S​pring 2004 ​counted ​only five males ​there​.  The next year a working group of government agencies, private landowners and ranchers was formed to​ determine​ ​the cause​ and try to rebuild populations. Read More