Contact Us Search

Cartago Wildlife Area

Image of Cartago Wildlife Area


Cartago Wildlife Area consists of 218 acres of freshwater wetland and springs which provide habitat for waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds including western snowy plovers, white-faced ibis and rails. Owens Lake has been designated a Nationally Significant Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and American Bird Conservancy, and 144 bird species have been documented on the wildlife area. The topography of the area is generally flat and at an elevation of 3,600'.

For more information, call the Inland Deserts Region Bishop office at (760) 872-1171.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing Hunting with Shotguns Quail Hunting Waterfowl Hunting

Activities: wildlife viewing, birdwatching, photography, and hunting

Ruins of an old soda ash processing plant are on the southwest side of the wildlife area. Old dikes 3'-4' high extend into Owens Lake bed and encircle ponds which were once used as soda evaporators.

Hunting: Type C Wildlife Area. Waterfowl, dove, quail, and rabbits may be present. Shotguns only (due to the close proximity of Hwy 395).

Facilities: None

PLEASE NOTE: For information on public use regulations for this area and other Department lands please refer to the link opens in new windowCDFW Public Lands Regulations booklet. Scroll to the Table of Contents. Locate the page number for general regulations for public uses on all Department lands. For additional regulations that apply only to certain properties, check the Table of Contents for sections that refer to additional or property-specific regulations for wildlife areas or ecological reserves. All visitors are responsible for knowing and following the general and property-specific regulations.

Area History

Cartago Springs contains one of the few remaining spring and wetland areas on the shore of Owens Lake. Groundwater pumping and surface and groundwater export by the Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power has significantly reduced wetland habitat acreage and quality, and has significantly impacted vegetation in the Owens Valley since the 1950s.

The purpose of the acquisition was to protect existing wetland and aquatic habitats found onsite. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 2007.

Last update : 10/31/2018 9:35:08 AM

Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-0411

Map of Cartago WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Inland Deserts Region (Region 6)

Inyo County

southwestern shore of Owens Dry Lake, about 75 miles south of Bishop and 60 miles north of Ridgecrest on Hwy 395 at Cartago

Access: From Bishop or Ridgecrest take Hwy 395 to Whitney Street in Cartago. The wildlife area boundary is about 1/2 mile east of Hwy 395.

CDFW Lands Viewer