San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
The San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve represents one of the last remnants of freshwater wetlands that once covered much of Orange County’s flood plain. Located in an ancient river-cut channel at the head of Newport Bay, the reserve supports a variety of wetland habitats, including freshwater marshlands, shallow ponds, and channels confined by earthen dikes. Dry upland habitats with a remnant coastal sage scrub community rise on the margins of the reserve. The marsh is a critical stopping place for 100 migratory bird species using the Pacific Flyway. Altogether, more than 200 bird species (20 nesting) have been sighted in the reserve, including two resident endangered bird species: the light-footed clapper rail and the California least tern. The marsh is located within a ten-minute walk from UC Irvine, making it convenient for day use by faculty and numerous students.
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