• HarborSeal LeValley 218x116

    Photo Galleries

    Check out some fantastic images taken by local photographers, Ron LeValley, Andrea Pickart & David F. Thomson

    Refuge Galleries

  • VisitorCenter Litman 218x116

    Visitor Center

    The visitor center is a great place to stop and gather information before taking advantage of all of Humboldt Bay's visitor activities.

    Learn More About the Visitor Center

  • Ma-le'l Dunes.

    Ma-le'l and Lanphere Dunes

    Experience a diverse and dynamic coastal landscape of forests and salt marshes, sand dunes and beaches.

    Dunes Restoration

  • Saltmarsh 218x116


    Humboldt Bay saltmarsh habitat has decreased by 90 percent. Fortunately, the Refuge is making it a priority to restore this unique habitat.

    Spartina Invasion and Management

  • FreshwaterWetlands 218x116

    Freshwater Wetlands

    Humboldt Bay freshwater wetlands attract hundreds of species of migratory and resident birds.

    Wetland Management


Birds Love Humboldt!

BirdsLoveHumboldt Thomson 150x138

Migratory Birds descend upon Humboldt Bay year round as they migrate from chilly northern breeding grounds to warmer wintering areas. These birds use the productive Refuge habitats ranging from freshwater wetlands to sandy forested dunes.

Learn More About Humboldt's Migrant Birds

Combating Invasive Spartina

SpartinaWeedWhacking 150

Historically the Humboldt Bay area had approximately 9,000 acres of valuable saltmarsh habitat. Because of levee construction in the early 1900's, which inhibited saltwater intrusion into historic marshes, salt marshes began to disappear, and now only 900 acres remain. The remaining acres are now being invaded by a robust grass known as Spartina. If left untreated, Spartina can take over an entire saltmarsh, completely eradicating all native species and becoming a monoculture. Through restoration work, the Refuge is combating the Spartina invasion to protect Humboldt's remaining saltmarsh habitat.

Learn How the Refuge is Controlling and Reversing Spartina Invasion

Restoring Humboldt's Natural Habitats

SalmonCreekPromo 150

Restoring habitats to more natural conditions is a priority for Humboldt Bay NWR. Before European settlement, Salmon Creek meandered through brackish and saltmarsh wetlands before entering the south bay. In the early 1900's the creek was channelized and tidal influence was halted. This had serious impacts on the habitat and associated fish and wildlife communities. Beginning in the early 1990's the Refuge began restoring historic Salmon Creek conditions, completing the most recent stage of the project in 2012.

Learn More about the Salmon Creek Restoration Project
Featured Stories

Humboldt Dune Restoration

DuneRestorationAfter 150x116

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.

Click Here for More Details About Humboldt Dune Resoration

About the Complex

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Humboldt Bay 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