National Wildlife Refuge
|752 County Rd 99W
Willows, CA 95988 - 9639
Phone Number: 530-934-2801
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is the headquarters for the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex and is one of five refuges located in the Sacramento Valley of north-central California. The refuge is approximately 90 miles north of Sacramento, adjacent to Interstate 5.
The 10,783-acre refuge consists of about 7,600 acres of intensively managed wetlands, uplands, riparian habitat, and vernal pools. It typically supports wintering populations of more than 600,000 ducks and 200,000 geese. More than 95 percent of the wetlands of the central valley have been lost in the last 100 years, and waterfowl have become increasingly dependent upon the refuges of the Sacramento Valley.
The refuge supports several endangered plants and animals, including transplanted colonies of palmate-bracted bird's-beak, several species of fairy shrimp, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, giant garter snake, wintering peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and breeding tricolored blackbird. Resident wildlife includes grebe, heron, blackbird, golden eagle, beaver, muskrat, black-tailed deer, and other species typical of upland and wetland habitats. Approximately 8,000 people hunt on the refuge each year, and 73,000 people use the visitor center, auto tour route, and walking trail.
Getting There . . .
From Interstate 5 at Williams, continue north on the Interstate for approximately 20 miles; exit at Road 68 (Exit 595). At the Road 68 and Highway 99W interchange, turn north and travel approximately 1.6 miles to the Refuge entrance. For southbound travelers, exit Interstate 5 at County Road 57 (Exit 601). Turn east over the overpass to Highway 99W. Turn right (south) and drive approximately 4.5 miles south to the Refuge entrance.
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Refuge management emphasizes maintenance, enhancement, and restoration of habitat for migratory birds and endangered species, while providing for as much natural diversity of indigenous flora and fauna as possible. The overall habitat base is managed to create a mosaic of seasonal wetlands, semi-permanent and permanent wetlands, and uplands through the refuge.
Water manipulations are most commonly used to encourage or discourage vegetation species, create suitable depths for a variety of wildlife, and to minimize mosquito production. Water is delivered through local irrigation districts. Significant quantities of vernal pool-alkali meadow habitat are naturally filled with rainwater and provide some of the highest diversities of native flora and fauna in the Sacramento Valley.
The refuge has an annual habitat management plan that sets objectives and directs management activities, prioritizing work on approximately 67 habitat units. The plan includes floodup and drawdown dates, vegetation manipulation required, levee repairs, special management considerations, and other tasks required to meet refuge objectives.
Standardized ground and aerial wildlife surveys and vegetation surveys are conducted regularly throughout the year to inventory populations and document habitat use. Each year units are evaluated by how well they met habitat and wildlife use objectives.
This information is stored in a computer database so it can be accessed, analyzed, and reported as needed. Research is encouraged; and staff is involved with initiating and conducting studies that have direct applications to management. Recent examples include studies on the effects of mosquito abatement activities on refuge biota, giant garter snake ecology, and causes of avian cholera outbreaks.