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    Photo Galleries

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

    Refuge Galleries

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    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

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    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

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    Freshwater Wetlands

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

    Wetland Management


Dunes Climate Ready Grant Study

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In June of 2015, Friends of the Dunes was awarded $249,246 from the State Coastal Conservancy's Climate Ready Program. The funding will be used to assess and prepare for the vulnerability of 32 miles of the Humboldt County coastline to sea level rise and other effects of climate change. The planning area includes four major barrier spits that protect the Humboldt Bay and Eel River estuaries and which contain coastal dune wildlife habitats, archeological sites, and water delivery and wastewater treatment facilities. The project will include establishment of demonstration sites to show how vegetation management and other techniques can be used to maintain the integrity and resilience of the dune system. While Friends of the Dunes is acting as the fiscal sponsor, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is taking the lead in this collaborative project involving multiple partners.

For More Information & Updates

About the Complex

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The coastal habitats conserved at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge are some of the most beautiful and biologically rich places in the world.

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

Learn 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  

Follow NWRS Online



  • Birds Love Humboldt!

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    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
  • Smartphone Apps Launch at Humboldt Bay NWR

    Discover Nature Apps Humboldt

    Explore the Ma-le'l Dunes in the north bay and the Shorebird Loop Trail at Salmon Creek in the south bay using your smartphone with these free, fun, game-based nature scavenger hunt apps!

    Discover Nature Apps
  • Humboldt Dune Restoration

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    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
  • Combating Invasive Spartina

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    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
Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2017


  • Habitat Improvement Team Volunteer Workday

    March 25, 2017 - March 25, 2017

    Help establish and maintain native plant areas and remove non-native plants. Meet at the Visitor Center ~ 9am to 12pm

  • Friday Night at the Refuge

    April 07, 2017 - April 07, 2017

    The Shorebird Loop Trail and Visitor Center will be open 8am to 8pm. Enjoy a photographic presentation by David Thomson at 7pm.

    Learn More
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