San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
Map of the United States
LocationSan Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, California, United States
Nearest cityModesto, California
Coordinates37°37′33″N 121°12′05″W / 37.6259°N 121.2014°W / 37.6259; -121.2014Coordinates: 37°37′33″N 121°12′05″W / 37.6259°N 121.2014°W / 37.6259; -121.2014[1]
Area7,000 acres (28 km2)
Governing bodyU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WebsiteSan Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area of along the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California. It is within San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County.

It protects more than 7,000 acres (28 km2) of riparian woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands and hosts a diversity of native wildlife.

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.

Riparian forest

Within the borders of the San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge is one of California's largest riparian forest restoration projects.[2] 400,000 native trees have been planted across 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) of the river's floodplain.[3] The major project was led by River Partners, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to restoring riparian zone habitat for wildlife.[4]

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 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.[5][6]


  1. ^ "San Joaquin River NWR Pelican Nature Trail" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  2. ^ Ronayne, Kathleen (2022-04-19). "California leads effort to let rivers roam, lower flood risk". AP News. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  3. ^ "Three Amigos – Mid San Joaquin River Regional Flood Management Plan". River Partners. February 4, 2022. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  4. ^ Bardeen, Sarah (April 18, 2022). "California's Rivers Could Help Protect the State from Flood and Drought". Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  5. ^ McConnell, Tatum (April 15, 2022). "New Vaccine Could Save Rabbits from Fatal Disease". Scientific American. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  6. ^ Sanden, Dave. "Vanished rabbit reappears on central California's Dos Rios Ranch". U S. Department of Agriculture | Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.