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Visitation: 20,000
Area: 4,000 Acres
Lat: 40.719785
Lon: 124.218958
Nearby Services
Gas-Eureka, Fortuna, 7 MilesFood-Eureka, Fortuna, Ferndale, 7 MilesLodging-Eureka, Fortuna, Ferndale, 7 Miles
Site Facilities
Boardwalks Brochure/Species List Bus Accessible
Drinking Water Interpretive Signs Restrooms
Trails Trash Cans Visitor Center/Ranger Station

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Every Kid in a Park. Initiative that gives every U.S. 4th grader and his or her family free access to 2000+ federally managed lands and waters. Educators can also participate.
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Site # 94
California's largest eelgrass beds, located at the south end of the state's largest bay, form a vital spring staging area for migrating black (Pacific) brant.
PremiumPremium - the most significant sites, worth visiting if you have limited time. Premium sites have high wildlife values year-round, staff on site, interpretive programs and/or displays, and well-developed facilities.

Background: California's largest eelgrass beds, located at the south end of the state's second largest natural bay, form a vital spring staging area for migrating black (Pacific) brant, more than 10,000 can be viewed at one time. Tens of thousands of Aleutian geese may be seen during late winter and spring. Resident harbor seals glide through open waters, weaving among northern pintails, wigeon, and other waterfowl, seals haul out and bear their young on intertidal mudflats. Tidal flats also attract thousands of shorebirds, including western sandpipers, dunlins, curlews, and willets. American bitterns and other wading birds feed along Salmon Creek and Hookton Slough, look for songbirds in adjacent grasslands. Califoria's northernmost heron rookery is located on Indian Island. Humboldt Bay is also a spawning, rearing, and feeding area for clams, crabs, flounder, and other species.
A historic duck club building is located on the Salmon Creek Unit. The duck club is planned to eventually become an exhibit emphasizing historic land uses and waterfowling of Humboldt Bay.

The Habitat: The refuge has several different units totaling almost 4,000 acres. These units consist of a mosaic of mudflats, estuarine eelgrass meadows, saltmarsh, brackish marsh, seasonally flooded freshwater wetlands, riparian wetlands, streams, coastal dunes, and forest. These habitats support over 316 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. The refuge also provides habitat for approximately 100 species of fish and marine invertebrates, many of which contribute to sport and commercial fisheries, including steelhead, coho and chinook salmon, and Dungeness crab.


The Experience: The habitats of Humboldt Bay NWR support over 316 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. The refuge also provides habitat for approximately 100 species of fish and marine invertebrates, many of which contribute to sport and commercial fisheries, including steelhead, coho and chinook salmon, and Dungeness crab.

In addition, concentrations of migratory waterbirds--especially shorebirds--occur in the fall, winter, and spring. In winter, it is not unusual for over 100,000 birds to use the Bay as a feeding or resting site. The main reason for these waterbird concentrations are the eelgrass beds and extensive mudflats. These also make the Bay an important spawning, nursery, and feeding area for fish and other marine life. Endangered/threatened species present are the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, brown pelican, Humboldt Bay wallflower, and beach layia.

This refuge has been described as one of the most important areas in the U.S. south of Alaska for black brant. This is especially true during the spring when the Bay is a key staging area for brant prior to their return to arctic nesting grounds. The Lanphere and Ma-le'l Dunes Unit protects endangered and rare plants within rare dune plant communities. The refuge contains one of very few dune systems in which the underlying processes are intact.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: Wildlife can be viewed from a car or trails at the Salmon Creek and Hookton Slough Units. Non motarized boats can be launched into Hookton Slough from the Hookton Slough boat dock. Shorebird Loop Trail is an easy 1.7 mile round trip hike. Hookton Slough Trail is an easy but longer 3 mile roundtrip.

Viewing Tips: Waterfowl and shorebird watching is excellent from October through April. Wading birds, brown pelicans, and birds of prey can be seen year-round. Look for songbirds in spring. Easy walking, some car viewing. Two trails with interpretive exhibits and a viewing blind offer excellent viewing. A photoblind is also available seasonally by reservation.

Site Notes: The beautiful Richard J. Guadagno Visitor Center features unique exhibits showcasing the ecology and wildlife of the Humboldt Bay area. A viewing room with spotting scopes, discovery touch box, tracking center and a Kid's Corner are found in the Visitor Center. A native habitat and songbird garden surround the visitor center. Restrooms and a picnic area are available.

Nearby Viewing Sites: South Jetty of Humboldt Bay, Headwaters Old Growth Forest (BLM), Eel River Wildlife Area (DFG)

Festivals & Events: Refuge Family Fun Day, Aleutian Goose Fly-Off, CWA Outdoor Adventure Camp. Field trips available by reservation (see website).
Godwit Days, Aleutian Goose Festival

Visitor Information: Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau - (800) 346-3482 - http://redwoods.info
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Sun,Mon,Tues,Wed,Thur,Fri,Sat
Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Year Round: Yes

Road Information:   Paved.  Gravel. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: Occasional flooding of Hookton Exit and Refuge Entrance Road
 Number of Parking Spaces: 30
Parking Fee: No
Proximity to viewing area:20 Yards
 Pull-Through Parking: No
Parking Notes: 

How to Get There: Directions from the South:
Take the Hookton Road Exit (Exit 696) off of 101 and follow the brown signs west over the freeway and turn right onto the refuge entrance road (Ranch Road). Follow the entrance road north until you reach the parking area in front of the Visitor Center.

Directions from the North:
Take the Hookton Road Exit (Exit 696) off Highway 101. Turn right and then immediately left onto the refuge entrance road (Ranch Road). Follow the entrance road north until you reach the parking area in front of the Visitor Center.
 

Contact Information
Managing Agency: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Agency Site URL: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/humboldt_bay
Physical Address:1020 Ranch Road
Loleta, CA 95551
Mailing Address:PO Box 576
Loleta, CA CA
Manager Phone:(707) 733-5406 Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:(707) 733-5406
County: Humboldt
Addition Website: