World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Article Id: WHEBN0000446601
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Butte Sink National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, National Wildlife Refuges in California
Collection: Central Valley (California), Civilian Conservation Corps in California, Landforms of Butte County, California, Landforms of Colusa County, California, Landforms of Glenn County, California, Landforms of Sacramento County, California, Landforms of Sutter County, California, Landforms of Tehama County, California, National Wildlife Refuges in California, Natural History of the Central Valley (California), Protected Areas of Butte County, California, Protected Areas of Colusa County, California, Protected Areas of Glenn County, California, Protected Areas of Sacramento County, California, Protected Areas of Sutter County, California, Protected Areas of Tehama County, California, Wetlands of California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Birds flying at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex is part of the United States system of National Wildlife Refuges (NWR).[1] It is located in northern California, in the valley of the Sacramento River.

The Sacramento NWR Complex was created in an attempt to resolve the conflict between the needs of migrating birds using the Pacific Flyway, and those of agriculture.


  • History and components 1
  • Ecology 2
  • Line notes 3
  • References 4

History and components

Before the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century, much of the Sacramento valley was taken up by seasonal wetlands and grasslands. By the beginning of the 20th century, much of this had been replaced by farmland, particularly for the growing of rice, and the rivers no longer create new wetlands because their flow is controlled by levees and irrigation schemes. Less than 10% of the original wetland area remains. Migrating birds have continued to use the area, and resting in the rice fields, consumed considerable quantities of the crop.

In 1937, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, with the aid of the Civilian Conservation Corps, began the process of creating a refuge within dry, alkaline lands between the towns of Willows and Maxwell. This was the original Sacramento NWR. From the 1940s onward, additional refuges were created, so that the Sacramento NWR Complex now includes the following refuges, located between 80 and 145 kilometres (50 and 90 mi) north of the city of Sacramento:

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

The total area of the refuges is about 140 square kilometres (35,000 acres)s).


The water flows in the refuge have to be controlled artificially, and the vegetation has to be managed actively through irrigation and burning, to ensure that the wetlands remain productive, and provide adequate food and resting places for the birds. Between them, the refuges provide a range of habitats: seasonal marshes, uplands, permanent ponds, and riparian areas.

The refuges are provided with facilities for visitors, though these have to be limited to avoid conflict with their primary purpose of conservation. The layout of the wetlands has been planned to allow visitors a good view of the birds while minimising the risk of disturbance to them. There is a visitor's center at the Sacramento NWR, and routes for car tours on the Sacramento and Colusa sites, though visitors are allowed to leave their cars only at selected sites. There are walking trails at both those sites and also at the Sacramento River site. Limited hunting is permitted on some of the sites.

Over 300 species of birds and mammals use the refuges, not all of them migratory. Among those most likely to be seen by visitors (depending on season) are:

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex boasts a diverse flora, even though large amounts of the historic wetland has been destroyed. Among the diverse wildflowers present is the yellow mariposa lily, Calochortus luteus.[2]

Line notes

  1. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2009
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009


  • C. Michael Hogan. 2009. ,, ed. N. StrombergYellow Mariposa Lily: Calochortus luteus
  • Official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. 2009

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.