Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge Updated:04/2022

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge was initially established in 1973 because of its prime location along the Pacific Flyway.  During the spring and fall migrations, thousands of birds traveling along the Pacific Flyway flock to the refuge, seeking shelter and food in one of the few remaining wetlands along the central California coast. The refuge also protects several threatened and endangered species, including Western snowy plover, Smith’s blue butterfly, and Monterey spineflower.

This 367-acre coastal National Wildlife Refuge is located where the Salinas River empties into Monterey Bay. The refuge is roughly triangular in shape with the Pacific Ocean forming the western border, the Salinas River forming the northeast border, and the southern border running adjacent to privately owned parcels of land. Refuge lands include a range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats,  including coastal dunes and beach, grasslands, a saline pond and salt marsh, and riparian habitats. Because of its location within the Pacific Flyway, the refuge is used by a variety of migratory birds during breeding, wintering, and migration periods. 

The refuge also provides habitat for several threatened and endangered species.  The threatened western snowy plover,  just six inches tall, lays its eggs in simple scrapes on the sparsely vegetated foredunes of the refuge, as well as other beaches and salt pannes in California. And the endangered Smith's blue butterfly makes its home in the buckwheat patches found blooming throughout the backdunes.

Contact Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

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Contact Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

Diane Kodama
1 Marshlands Rd.
Fremont, CA  94555
Phone: 510-792-0222

Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Monterey County, California