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San Luis
National Wildlife Refuge

7376 S. Wolfson Rd
Los Banos, CA   93635
E-mail: sean_brophy@fws.gov
Phone Number: 209-826-3508
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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

The San Luis Refuge in the San Joaquin Valley of central California is one of the last remnants of the historically bountiful wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl of the Pacific Flyway. Located in the Bear Creek, Salt Slough, and San Joaquin River floodplain, it hosts a myriad of tree-lined channels and oxbows, wetlands and native grasslands.

Thousands of acres of wetlands, fed by an intricate set of canals, are managed to produce natural food supplies for migratory waterfowl. San Luis also contains the most extensive network of pristine native grasslands, shrubs, and vernal pools that still remain within the Central Valley.

Thousands upon thousands of mallard, pintail, green-winged teal, and ring-necked ducks flock into the managed wetlands; while the colorful, yet secretive, wood duck lives throughout the tree-lined slough channels.

Herons and egrets nest in majestic oaks and willows, then feed on the refuge's abundant frog and crayfish populations. A wide diversity of songbirds, hawks, and owls also use refuge habitat.

Getting There . . .
San Luis Refuge is approximately 10 miles north of Los Banos, California. From Highway 152 in Los Banos, take Highway 165 (Mercey Springs Road) north 8 miles, then northeast 2 miles on Wolfsen Road to the refuge. The Kesterson Unit's public access point can be reached by driving 4 miles east of Gustine on Highway 140.

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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

Few areas in the Valley retain the flavor of early settlement days when wildlife was abundant, the air clear and fresh, and the landscape pleasant and pastoral. Encroaching agriculture and industry gradually reduced waterfowl habitat, and the vast marshes and great cattle herds gave way to intensive farming.

San Luis Refuge is such a place.

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From its earliest history, the San Joaquin Valley of Central California has been one of the principal wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl of the Pacific Flyway.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
San Luis Refuge is intensively managed to produce optimum wetland conditions for a diversity of migratory birds. Thousands of acre-feet of water are distributed through miles of canals and ditches, and hundreds of water control structures.

Uplands, used by sandhill cranes, long-billed curlew, numerous raptor species, and the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, are managed by the use of controlled grazing and fire. Through ongoing riparian restoration projects on the refuge, the habitat adjacent to waterways is augmented by planting mative trees and shrubs-often with the help of volunteers.