Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Calipatria

3.6
#264 of 385 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 refuge 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.The refuge is composed of two disjunctive units, separated by of private lands. Each unit contains managed wetland habitat, agricultural fields, and tree rows. The courses of the New and Alamo rivers run through the refuge, providing freshwater inflow to the Salton Sea.
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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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  • Unbelievable...who knew the Colorado River flooded a 100 years ago and spilled into extreme southern California leaving the largest depleting lake in the country. It is neat. We loved the Christian man made mountain. Great fun to kill a day.
  • I am sure this changes because of bird migrations. Here is what there is. There is an observation platform and a trail that runs out along the dikes. I saw quail and geese. There is no visitors center and minimum interpretive assistance. It's a wildlife refuge and that is it's purpose. Whether you enjoy it may depend on your level of expectation
  • Very weird yet extremely fascinating and entertaining place , has an observation platform about 35 feet high or so with telescopes to observe the wildlife , there are trails leading all around the area but best not to go when its too hot.
  • Great bird watching..great refuge. I duck hunt near there as well. So Cal's biggest bird refuge. Cool and Ural. . Please support/ donate. There doing great work there
  • 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.
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