U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

This image is a scene of the Chocolate Mountains in the background and the Colorado River in the foreground.
P.O. Box 72217
Yuma, AZ   85365
E-mail: FW2_RW_Imperial@fws.gov
Phone Number: 928-783-3371
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Scenic image of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.
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Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
The Colorado River and associated backwater lakes and wetlands of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge are a green oasis, contrasting with the surrounding desert mountains. Consisting of over 26,000 acres, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge protects wildlife habitat along 30 miles of the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California, including the last unchannelized section before the river enters Mexico.

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge also contains more than 15,000 acres of federally designated wilderness. Wilderness is protected to ensure that nature, not people is the primary influence on this quiet, scenic place.

In addition to the Visitor Center, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge provides opportunities to hike, fish, hunt, and watch wildlife.

Getting There . . .
From Yuma: Travel north on Highway 95. Near Milepost 47 turn left onto Martinez Lake Road. Follow Martinez Lake Road west for approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto Red Cloud Mine Road and follow signs directing you to the Visitor Center.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

Your full starting address AND town and state OR zip code

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

In the desert, wildlife such as black-tailed jackrabbits and western whiptail lizards are plentiful. Watch at dawn and dusk for desert bighorn sheep and mule deer heading to the river for a drink.

Ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other waterbirds flock to the lower Colorado River each year to spend the winter. Cinnamon teal and Northern pintail are just a few of the species you will see at Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

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At one time, the banks of the Colorado River were lined with cottonwood and willow forests, sustained by the river's natural periodic flooding. Animals depended on this green forest oasis for breeding, resting, feeding, and shade.

Woodcutting during the steamboat era, clearing for agriculture, wild fire, exotic plants like salt cedar, and use of dams for flood control have devastated cottonwood and willow stands along the lower Colorado River. Some animals that depend on these forests, such as the southwestern willow flycatcher, have become endangered.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Refuge staff, volunteers, and partnering agencies are working to restore wetlands, protect backwater lakes, manage marshlands and ponds, and farm croplands to provide food and resting areas for winter residents. Some projects include managing ponds stocked with endangered boneytail chub and razorback sucker fish and planting cottonwood and willow trees to replace invasive salt cedar trees.