San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)

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North levee, San Luis Refuge - March, 2007
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Map of the United States
Location Merced County, California, United States
Nearest city Gustine, California
Coordinates 37°12′00″N120°48′04″W / 37.19994°N 120.80103°W / 37.19994; -120.80103 Coordinates: 37°12′00″N120°48′04″W / 37.19994°N 120.80103°W / 37.19994; -120.80103 [1]
Area 26,600 acres (108 km2)
Established 1966
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Website San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in the San Joaquin Valley of central California is one of the great remnants of a historically bountiful wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl on 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.

San Joaquin Valley valley

The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California that lies south of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and is drained by the San Joaquin River. It comprises seven counties of Northern and one of Southern California, including, in the north, all of San Joaquin and Kings counties, most of Stanislaus, Merced, and Fresno counties, and parts of Madera and Tulare counties, along with a majority of Kern County, in Southern California. Although a majority of the valley is rural, it does contain cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, Modesto, Turlock, Porterville, Visalia, Merced, and Hanford.

Central California Place in California, United States

Central California is a subregion of Northern California, generally thought of as the middle third of the state, north of Southern California. It includes the northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, the central hills of the California Coast Ranges, and the foothills and mountain areas of the central Sierra Nevada.

Pacific Flyway

The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south flyway for migratory birds in America, extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, migratory birds travel some or all of this distance both in spring and in fall, following food sources, heading to breeding grounds, or travelling to overwintering sites.

Contents

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.

Shrub type of plant

A shrub or bush is a small- to medium-sized woody plant. Unlike herbs, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height, and are usually under 6 m (20 ft) tall. Plants of many species may grow either into shrubs or trees, depending on their growing conditions. Small, low shrubs, generally less than 2 m (6.6 ft) tall, such as lavender, periwinkle and most small garden varieties of rose, are often termed "subshrubs".

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

Mallard species of dabbling duck

The mallard is a dabbling duck that breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Eurasia, and North Africa and has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa. This duck belongs to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae. The male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on their wings and belly, while the females have mainly brown-speckled plumage. Both sexes have an area of white-bordered black or iridescent blue feathers called a speculum on their wings; males especially tend to have blue speculum feathers. The mallard is 50–65 cm (20–26 in) long, of which the body makes up around two-thirds the length. The wingspan is 81–98 cm (32–39 in) and the bill is 4.4 to 6.1 cm long. It is often slightly heavier than most other dabbling ducks, weighing 0.72–1.58 kg (1.6–3.5 lb). Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are social animals preferring to congregate in groups or flocks of varying sizes. This species is the main ancestor of most breeds of domesticated ducks.

Northern pintail A migratory duck that breeds in northern Eurasia and North America

The pintail or northern pintail is a duck with wide geographic distribution that breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator. Unusually for a bird with such a large range, it has no geographical subspecies if the possibly conspecific duck Eaton's pintail is considered to be a separate species.

Green-winged teal species of bird

The green-winged teal is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands. It was considered conspecific with the common teal for some time but the issue is still being reviewed by the American Ornithological Society; based on this the IUCN and BirdLife International do not accept it as a separate species at present. However, nearly all other authorities consider it distinct based on behavioral, morphological, and molecular evidence. The scientific name is from Latin Anas, "duck" and carolinensis, "of Carolina".

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

Heron family of birds

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, and, together with the zigzag heron, or zigzag bittern, in the monotypic genus Zebrilus, form a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes in breeding plumage. Herons, by evolutionary adaptation, have long beaks.

Egret

Egrets are herons which have white or buff plumage, and develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons and have the same build.

Oak genus of plants

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus, as well as in those of unrelated species such as Grevillea robusta and the Casuarinaceae (she-oaks). The genus Quercus is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cool temperate to tropical latitudes in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States, while Mexico has 160 species of which 109 are endemic. The second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species.

Hunting is allowed in the winter season on a portion of the refuge, which also holds a herd of reintroduced endangered tule elk, the smallest subspecies of all American elks.

Tule elk subspecies of mammal

The tule elk is a subspecies of elk found only in California, ranging from the grasslands and marshlands of the Central Valley to the grassy hills on the coast. The subspecies name derives from the tule, a species of sedge native to freshwater marshes on which the Tule elk feeds. When the Europeans first arrived, an estimated 500,000 tule elk roamed these regions, but by 1870 they were thought to be extirpated. However, in 1874-1875 a single breeding pair was discovered in the tule marshes of Buena Vista Lake in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Conservation measures were taken to protect the species in the 1970s. Today, the wild population exceeds 4,000. Tule elk can reliably be found in Carrizo Plain National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, portions of the Owens Valley from Lone Pine to Bishop, and on Coyote Ridge in Santa Clara Valley, San Jose, California.

See also

Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge

The Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge was an artificial wetland environment, created using agricultural runoff from farmland in California's Central Valley.

The Kesterson Reservoir is the name of a former unit of the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge which is part of the current San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. The site gained national attention during the latter half of the 20th century due to selenium toxicity and rapid die off of migratory waterfowl, fish, insects, plants and algae within the Kesterson Reservoir.

Related Research Articles

Tulare Lake

Tulare Lake, Laguna de Tache in Spanish, is a freshwater dry lake with residual wetlands and marshes in the southern San Joaquin Valley, California, United States. After Lake Cahuilla disappeared in the 17th century, Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River and the second-largest freshwater lake entirely in the United States, based upon surface area. A remnant of Pleistocene-era Lake Corcoran, Tulare Lake dried up after its tributary rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water uses.

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge

The Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a 27,300 acre (110 km²) wildlife refuge located in Sevier County, Arkansas managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located in southern Colorado. The refuge is located in the San Luis Valley south of the town of Monte Vista, Colorado in southeastern Rio Grande County, Colorado, in the watershed of the Rio Grande. It was established in 1953 by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to provide a habitat for wildlife, particularly waterfowl, in the San Luis Valley.

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge is a 13,450-acre (5,440 ha) U.S. National Wildlife Refuge located in northwestern Colorado. It is located in Moffat County in the extreme northwestern corner of the state, in an isolated mountain valley of Browns Park on both sides of the Green River, approximately 25 miles (40 km) below Flaming Gorge Dam. Established in 1965, the refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service office in Maybell, Colorado. The refuge is approximately 53 miles (85 km) northwest of Maybell on State Highway 318. The refuge consists of bottomland and adjacent benchland. The western border of the refuge is the Colorado-Utah state line. The refuge is surrounded by adjacent lines of the Bureau of Land Management. The refuge contains the site of the former Fort Davy Crockett constructed in 1837 to protect trappers against attacks by Blackfoot Native Americans.

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge United States National Wildlife Refuge

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (DESFBNWR) is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located in the southern part of San Francisco Bay, California. The Refuge headquarters and visitor center is located in the Baylands district of Fremont, next to Coyote Hills Regional Park, in Alameda County. The visitor center is on Marshlands Rd, off Thornton Ave.

Suisun Marsh

Located in northern California the Suisun Marsh is the largest brackish water marsh on west coast of the United States of America. The marsh land is part of the San Francisco Bay tidal estuary, and subject to tidal ebb and flood. The marsh is home to many species of birds and other wildlife, and is formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers between Martinez and Suisun City, California and several other smaller, local watersheds. Adjacent to Suisun Bay, the marsh is immediately west of the legally defined Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as well as part of the San Francisco Bay estuary.

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge is a natural area in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, United States. It was created to provide wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike other Canada geese, dusky Canada geese have limited summer and winter ranges. They nest on Alaska's Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley. Habitat loss, predation, and hunting have caused a decrease in population.

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge protected area

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in northwestern Oregon, 10 miles (16 km) west of Salem in Polk County. Situated in open farmland near the eastern foothills of the Oregon Coast Range with the broad Willamette Valley and the Cascade Range to the east, elevations range from 185 to 414 feet MSL. The Willamette Valley, with its mild, rainy winter climate, is an ideal environment for wintering waterfowl. The valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats with extensive wetlands, meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with few areas remaining for wildlife. The Refuge consists of 1,173 acres (4.75 km²) of cropland, which provide forage for wintering geese, 300 acres (1.2 km²) of forests, 550 acres (2.2 km²) of grasslands, and 500 acres (2.0 km²) of shallow water seasonal wetlands and 35 acres (0.14 km²) of permanent open water. In 1965, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge was created to help ensure some of the original habitat remained for species preservation. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is located within the Yolo Bypass in Yolo County, California. The wildlife area is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the intent of restoring and managing a variety of wildlife habitats in the Yolo Basin, a natural basin in the north part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The creation of the wildlife area was spearheaded by the Yolo Basin Foundation. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Yolo Basin Foundation are the core partners in the operation of this unique community resource. Located at 38.550515°N 121.626291°W

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex is located in the northern San Joaquin Valley, within Merced County and Stanislaus County of California. The complex, with four federal National Wildlife Refuges, is managed by the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service.

Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

The Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the foothills of the southwestern San Joaquin Valley in Kern County, California. The refuge is one of four units of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex for California condors.

Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

The Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Sacramento, California, lies within the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, the destination of thousands of migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water birds. The refuge was established in 1994.

San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area of along the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California. It is within San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge is located 35 miles (56 km) south of Tulare, California and 45 miles (72 km) north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. The 6,939-acre (2,808 ha) nature refuge represents one of the few remaining examples of the grasslands, vernal pools, and playas that once bordered historic Tulare Lake, the largest lake west of the Great Lakes until the late 19th century.

Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Kern National Wildlife Refuge is a 1,249-acre (5.05 km2) protected area located in the southern portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, 20 miles west of the city of Delano. Situated on the southern margin of what was once the largest freshwater wetland complex in the western United States, Kern National Wildlife Refuge provides optimum wintering habitat for migratory birds with an emphasis on waterfowl and water birds.

Merced National Wildlife Refuge

The Merced National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 10,262 acres (41.53 km2) of wetlands, native grasslands, vernal pools, and riparian areas in California. It was established in 1951 under the Lea Act to attract wintering waterfowl from adjacent farmland where their foraging was causing crop damage. In the last few decades, changes in agricultural practices and refuge management have reduced these wildlife/crop issues.

Grasslands Wildlife Management Area lies within the San Joaquin River basin in California and supports the largest remaining block of wetlands in the Central Valley, containing 70,000 acres (280 km2) of private wetlands and associated, and surrounding 53,000 acres (210 km2) of state and federal lands. Perpetual conservation easements on private lands have been purchased by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Butte Sink Wildlife Management Area

Butte Sink Wildlife Management Area is located in Colusa, Butte, and Sutter Counties. It is wetlands managed as part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex and is not open to the public.

Refuge Water Supply Program

The Refuge Water Supply Program (RWSP) is administered by the United States Department of the Interior jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service and tasked with acquiring a portion and delivering a total of 555,515 acre feet (AF) of water annually to 19 specific protected wetland areas in the Central Valley of California as mandated with the passing of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act signed on October 30, 1992 by President George H. W. Bush.

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe United States Fish and Wildlife Service .