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Petaluma Marsh Wildlife Area

Description

This wildlife area is comprised of several units totaling approximately 4,200 acres of tidal salt marsh, mudflats, coastal oak woodlands, and coastal scrub habitats. It is comprised of several units including: Petaluma River, Burdell, Bahia, Black John, Day Island, Green Point, Novato Creek, Point Sonoma, and Rush Creek. The Petaluma River Unit is the largest remaining natural tidal brackish marsh in California, supporting primarily pickleweed, cordgrass, alkali bulrush, and saltgrass.

The upland habitat in the area supports deer, raccoons, jackrabbits, and foxes, among others. Migratory bird species use the area most heavily during the fall and winter months, but many can be found year round. Wetland bird species include willits, curlews, dowitchers, night herons, and black-bellied plovers.

For more information, call the Bay Delta Region Napa office at (707) 944-5500.


Recreational Opportunities

Boating Access Wildlife Viewing Fishing Hunting with Shotguns Waterfowl Hunting

PLEASE NOTE: For information on public use regulations for this area and other Department lands, please refer to the CDFW Public Lands Regulations. All visitors are responsible for knowing and following these regulations.

Activities: wildlife viewing, birdwatching, fishing, and hunting

Hunting: Type C Wildlife Area. No permits, passes, or reservations are required. Waterfowl, coots, moorhens, and rabbits may be present.

Facilities: No restrooms are available on CDFW property.

Area History

The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1979.

Bahia: The unit was originally diked off for agricultural use. CDFW partnered with adjacent land owner, Marin Audubon Society, to restore both properties. Post-restoration, the property now consists of tidal wetland, seasonal wetland, managed ponds, and upland habitat.

Black John: The unit was purchased to insure the area was preserved and managed for wildlife. The area is composed of tidal marsh and diked seasonal wetland.

Burdell: Burdell Unit is a diked off mainly freshwater, seasonal wetland along the Petaluma River just north of Gnoss Airfield. Runoff from the adjacent hills to the west provides the freshwater source to this unit.

Day Island: Historically, the unit was two islands surrounded by salt marsh. Long ago the area was diked and filled to create a land bridge between the islands and the proposed Black Point subdivision.

Green Point: Prior to acquisition by the Department, the unit was used to pasture dairy cattle for several decades. Tidal action was excluded by diking in the mid-1800s. Under Department management, slough channels have been reestablished, uplands developed, and tidal action restored to the area.

Novato Creek: The unit was part of the Novato Creek flood plain but in the mid-1800s was diked and had been used for production of agricultural crops.

Petaluma River: The unit was previously used as a duck club with minor pond management and water control. It is the largest remaining natural tidal brackish marsh in California.

Point Sonoma: This unit was purchased in 1978 strictly for wildlife management and protection of the environment. Approximately 3 acres along the eastern border was a mitigation transfer.

Rush Creek: The unit was diked off from tidal action in the early 1900s to facilitate agricultural use. In recent times the site has functioned as a seasonal wetland with cattle grazing during the dry season.


Last update : 2/15/2017 4:11:45 PM


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


Petaluma Marsh WA

Click to enlarge


Location

Bay Delta Region (Region 3)

Marin & Sonoma Counties

southeast of Petaluma

Access: Accessible by boat only via the Petaluma River.

Public Boat Launch Ramps:

Novato, Black Point: From Highway 37, take the Black Point exit. The launch is under the highway along the south side of the Highway 37/Petaluma River Bridge.

Petaluma, Petaluma Marina: Take the Highway 116/Lakeville Road exit. Go east on Highway 116/Lakeville Road, then turn right on Baywood Drive.

CDFW Lands Viewer