Coastal southern California includes a unique combination of physical features, climate, and hydrology that have resulted in a diversity of plants and wildlife unlike any other region in North America. The habitats in Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge are essential for migratory birds of the Pacific Flyway and support federally and state listed endangered species. Since the establishment of Seal Beach NWR in 1972, the refuge has continued to protect and conserve essential habitats for many species including those that are threatened and endangered.
Free refuge tours available.

View the Visit Us page for more information. 

Visit Us

Located in the northwest corner of Orange County this refuge protects a remnant of what was once a vast wetland complex. During monthly tours, visitors can expect to see shorebirds darting from one foraging area to another within the tidal flats. The occasional green sea turtle and light-footed Ridgway’s rail thrive within the Refuge’s diverse marsh complex offering a rare appearance.

Because of NWSSB’s military mission of storing and handling ordnance (munitions), the Refuge is closed to the public except during special events and escorted tours held on the last Saturday of each month (excluding December). View the Activities section for more information. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Established in 1972, the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge serves as an important stopover point for migratory shorebirds traveling along the Pacific Flyway. The refuge also serves as an island of habitat in the midst of a dense urban setting for a wide variety of fish, wildlife and plants.


      Although limited, occasionally specially arranged tours for groups of 15-20 people can be conducted on the Refuge throughout the year. Please contact the Refuge manager 2-3 months in advance for scheduling opportunities.

      What We Do

      The purpose for Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and preserve a 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 estuarine habitat valuable for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife in the State of California. The Management Plan prepared in 1974 includes two principal objectives of the Refuge: 1) preservation and management of habitat necessary for the perpetuation of two endangered species, the
      light-footed Ridgway’s rail and the California least tern; and 2) preservation of habitat used by migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds.

      Our Species

      Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge works closely to support and protect federally and State listed threatened and endangered species and species of concern that are found on the refuge like the light-footed Ridgway’s rail, California least tern, and Eastern Pacific green turtles.