Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, California
Located in the valley of the Sacramento River and in the overall basin known as California’s Central Valley – this Nat’l Wildlife refuge was created as a preserve to the millions of migrating birds that use the Central Valley as a flyway. As human populations grow and development increases in the Valley then it becomes necessary to save these precious few wetlands that are left. Birds that are migrating need “layovers” to rest up and add nourishment before they continue on their journeys. The Valley is rich in nourishing soil so agriculture is a dominant use of the land. It makes sense that most of the nation’s vegetables are grown here because of the climate and soil conditions but it also makes sense to preserve critical habitats so the overall environment is protected. We as well as everything else benefits. Wetlands are known to be vital to the restoration process of filtering out harmful contaminants in the soil and water. They are like a sponge with a filter process. Definition of a wetland is a saturation component that is dominant enough so that the vegetation that occurs there is adapted for life in a saturated soil wether it be from surface or ground sources. Marshes, swamps and bogs (whether it be coastal or inland) fall into this category.
The upland riparian habitat characteristics of the topography of this refuge create shelter for many bird species along with fish, river otter, beaver, muscrat, raccoon, reptile, amphibian and plant species.