Rising 85 feet above water, Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge supports the largest heron and egret rookery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Situated in a prime location along the pacific flyway for migratory birds, the refuge provides submerged tidelands, mixed evergreen forest, coastal prairie, coastal salt marsh and northern coastal scrub habitat.

Visit Us

The Refuge is closed to the public.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Once a private retreat for a Bay Area family, the Marin Islands now offer refuge for migratory and resident birds. The Islands cover 10.5 acres of the 339-acre refuge, the rest is submerged tidelands.

      What We Do

      The refuge was established in 1992 to protect migratory species, including the heron and egret nesting colony, protect and restore suitable habitat for the colony, and protect the tidal mud flats and unique island ecosystem. 

      Our Species

      The islands consist of mixed evergreen forest, coastal prairie, coastal salt marsh salt marsh
      Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

      Learn more about salt marsh
      and northern coastal scrub. Marin Islands provide nesting habitat to one of the largest heron and egret rookeries in northern California. In the tidal and sub-tidal habitats surrounding the islands, diving ducks are commonly seen along with grebes, brown and white pelicans, terns, and black oystercatchers.  

      black oystercatcher on a rock

      The adult Black Oystercatcher is a large shorebird with a black head and body; large red bill; stout, dull pink legs; and yellow eyes, with surrounding ring of red skin. Juvenile Black Oystercatchers are similar in appearance to adults; however, they may have somewhat browner plumage, a dark tip...

      FWS Focus
      A large brown pelican in flight

      The adult brown pelican is a large dark gray-brown water bird with white about the head and neck. Immatures are gray-brown above and on the neck, with white underparts. Although the Caribbean subspecies resembles the eastern subspecies, the Caribbean brown pelican has a darker non-breeding...

      FWS Focus

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.