Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, California.


Colusa NWR was established in 1945 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife and to reduce damage of agricultural crops caused by waterfowl.

The refuge lies in the Colusa Basin and is bisected by the Colusa Basin Drain, which drains the basin southeast to the Sacramento River. The low topography and presence of the Colusa Basin Drain makes refuge lands subject to regular winter flooding.

Thousands of waterfowl are present from September through March. Peak populations occur in December and January. Colusa NWR regularly supports peak wintering populations of over 150,000 ducks and 60,000 geese. Many birds including nesting wood ducks and mammals can be seen year-round.

The habitats include seasonal marshes, permanent ponds, and uplands. The seasonally flooded, saline-alkali soils provide great habitat for the palmate-bracted bird's-beak, a federally listed threatened plant species. It is an annual herb in the snapdragon family and its petals are divided into two lips with the upper one shaped like a bird's-beak, leading to its name.

Nearby Activities


Traveling north or south on Interstate 5:

Parts of Colusa NWR are also viewable via:

The auto tour route and walking trail off of Highway 20. 

*Please be cautious when viewing from public roads as they are open to public traffic and may have soft shoulders. 



Check station is approximately 11.4 miles southeast from Williams (Hwy 20 exit) and 7.6 miles east from Husted Rd exit

From Interstate 5, heading south:

From Interstate 5, heading north:

Additional Information

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