Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Calipatria

3.6
#205 of 240 in Wildlife in California
The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is located north of the Mexican border at the southern end of the Salton Sea in California’s Imperial Valley. Situated along the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge is the only one of its kind, located below sea level. Because of its southern latitude, elevation and location in the Colorado Desert, the Refuge experiences some of the highest temperatures in the nation. Daily temperatures from May to October generally exceed 100 °F with temperatures of 116°–120 °F recorded yearly.HistoryThe refuge was established as a sanctuary and breeding ground for birds and wild animals in 1930. In 1998, the refuge was renamed after Congressman Sonny Bono, who played an active role in trying to save the Salton Sea. Originally, it included approximately. Nearly 60 percent of the original acreage was an open saline lake with the remainder being shoreline alkali flats, freshwater wetlands, native desert scrub and upland (farm fields). Due to the inflow of agricultural effluent and a subsequent rise in the level of the Salton Sea, all of the original Refuge area has been inundated. At present, only about 2,200acre manageable remain suitable for farming and wetland development.GeographyThe topography of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR is flat, except for Rock Hill, which is located at the refuge headquarters. The refuge is bordered by the Salton Sea on the north and intensively farmed agricultural lands on the east, south and west.
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Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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  • Very large park with several habitats for bird watching. We stayed 2 days it was beautiful and very nice. I highly recommend it. The views are beautiful and very easy trails.
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  • Sonny Bono NWR, Imperial Wildlife Wisteria Unit, and Finney-Ramer Unit are terrible places to go. The roads to them are unkept especially Finley-Ramer which at one time had shelters. There is no visit...  more »
  • The Salton Sea, especially the southern end, is a migratory hot spot. It is also the most reliable place to see the Yellow-footed Gull. If you don't have that species on your life list, get thee to th...  more »
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  • Great place to visit. If you are a birder you will enjoy the diversity of birds. Burrowing Owl, Gambil's Quail and Snow geese abound.
  • Used to be a great spot but pollution is horrible, two of most contaminated rivers in US flow into it, even wildlife cant survive there and fish are inedible. Smells nasty too
  • A must-visit destination for birders and other naturalists with opportunities to view some of the richest diversity of birds in North America.
  • It's a small Wildlife Refuge for ducks and geese as they head south for the winter it has freshly planted fields to feed them viewing stations and nature walks. It's not the biggest deal out there but if you have time to take a look during the winter months mainly November through February to see the most birds.
  • Wonderful location to observe Snow Geese and the Salton Sea. I was disappointed that the circular trail was closed, forcing an out and back walk.

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