The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 6,500 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands that host a diversity of wildlife native to California's Central Valley. Established in 1987 under the authority of the Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Conservation Acts, the refuge has also played a major role in the recovery of Aleutian cackling geese. Within the borders of the San Joaquin NWR is one of California's largest riparian forest restoration projects: 400,000 native trees have been planted across 1,700 acres of river floodplain. This major task was led by River Partners, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to restoring riparian habitat for wildlife. Riparian forests, which once covered large portions of California's Central Valley, have been greatly reduced due to state and federal water projects and diversions. The San Joaquin River NWR's important riparian habitat is host to many rare animals. Swainson's hawks nest in the canopy of tall cottonwood trees. Herons and cormorants form communal nesting colonies within the tops of the large oaks on Christman Island. Endangered riparian brush rabbits have been reintroduced to their historic habitat from captive-reared populations.
The limited facilities of San Joaquin River Refuge can be reached by driving 8 miles west of Modesto on State Highway 132, north on Gates Road, and west on Beckwith Road.
State Hwy 132 San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, CA
FWS - Fish and Wildlife Service