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Dale Val
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Rick Derevan
Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary - Site # 23
The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the City of Arcata’s innovative wastewater treatment facility. The sanctuary is 307 acres, including freshwater marshes, salt marsh, tidal sloughs, grassy uplands, mudflats, brackish marsh, approximately 5 miles of walking and biking paths and an Interpretive Center. By integrating conventional wastewater treatment with the natural processes of constructed wetlands, Arcata has succeeded in turning wastewater into a resource.
RegionalRegional - worth visiting if you are already in the area. They may be located farther from populated areas or with more limited wildlife species.

: 900x500 : 900x500 Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center: 1024x768 Arcata Marsh: 960x636 Arcata Marsh Butterfly: 1024x1293.7396668723

Background: This model restoration project on Humboldt Bay transforms treated wastewater into marshes and habitat for salmon and trout aquaculture. Four freshwater marshes, a brackish lake, tidal flats, salt marsh and tidal slough attract more than 300 bird species, muskrats, and river otters. Dunlins and marbled godwits rest on loafing islands. The water draws cinnamon teal, ospreys, and endangered California brown pelicans. Song sparrows and marsh wrens perch on marsh vegetation. Egrets and herons are conspicuous, while Sora Rail and American bitterns hide among the cattails. Field mice and shorebirds stranded by high tides attract northern harriers, peregrine falcons, and other birds of prey.

The Habitat: Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay, the sanctuary is situated along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico and Central and South America. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary has probably the highest bird populated coastal site between Bodega Harbor and Washington, with literally thousands of birding visitors annually and organized bird walks held at least weekly year-round. The Marsh has hosted more than 300 bird species.

The Experience: The Marsh is considered the best place to bird in Humboldt County and is widely known outside the area for its avian abundance. It ranks fourth in the state of California and 20th in the entire United States for species diversity, according to the eBird database of bird sightings. More than 70 bird species can be found at the Marsh year-round. Each season reveals its own delights.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: The Marsh is a year-round destination for nature observation. It is situated along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico, and Central and South America. It provides homes and migratory resting places for over 330 species of birds. Many plants, mammals, insects, and amphibians inhabit the Marsh, including river otters, gray foxes, raccoons, Pacific tree frogs and red-legged frogs, rough-skinned newts, and dragonflies.

Viewing Tips: Outstanding birding. Look for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds from October through April. Many residents and rarities such as Iceland gulls and oldsquaws. Peregrine falcons can be seen from September through March during high tides; bald eagles winter here. Songbirds are abundant spring through fall. Coastal cutthroat trout and salmon are raised at nearby aquaclture project ponds. Five miles miles of hiking trails, bird blinds, benches and an interpretive center.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Redwoods National & State Parks
Ruth Lake

Festivals & Events:  Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival

Visitor Information: Friends of Arcata Marsh - (707) 826-2359 - https://www.arcatamarshfriends.org
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Everday
Year Round: Yes

Road Information:   Paved. 
Road Hazards: 
 Number of Parking Spaces: 10
Parking Fee: 
Proximity to viewing area:
 Pull-Through Parking: 
Parking Notes: 

How to Get There: Located ten miles north of Eureka. In Arcata, take Highway 255 exit.Drive west to South G Street. Turn left and drive .5 miles to the marsh interpretive center. Or turn left on South I street and follow it west to marsh access.

Contact Information
Managing Agency: City of Arcata
Agency Site URL: 
Physical Address:736 F Street
Arcata, CA 95521
Agency 2:569 S G Street
Arcata, CA 95521
Manager Phone: Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:707-822-5951
County: Humboldt
Addition Website:  https://www.arcatamarshfriends.org