Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Calipatria

#284 of 509 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.
The 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.
The 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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61 reviews
  • This has marshy areas with a trail close to the Sea with an observation deck. To see more water birds from your car,take the side road east marked for a marina.near the entrance and the road goes betw...  more »
  • Great spot for a nice walk. Lots of birds. Great view of Salton Sea and surrounding area. The visitor center was closed so not sure about it.  more »
  • Not a very impressive state park. If you're in the area/Imperial Valley, it's definitely worth a stop. The walk is about 30 minutes. We spent a totally time of about 1 hour and 45 minutes there. We took time to take photos. It's an interesting landscape. Good for photography. Overall, not very pretty. But unique.
  • Just the right place to go and relax! Dog friendly, clean restrooms!!! Perfect for 🐦 bird watching. Weather permitting- summer not recommended!

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