National Wildlife Refuges

California condors above the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Scott Flaherty, USFWS.

The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to manage a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitat. The Refuge System maintains the biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of these natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. The Los Padres National Forest is bordered by two National Wildlife Refuges described below.

Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge

This 2,471-acre refuge is bordered by the Sespe Condor Sanctuary and Los Padres National Forest. Strategically located adjacent to the Sanctuary, the refuge helps buffer California condor nesting and roosting areas from human disturbance and protects a portion of the foraging habitat within a much larger area where the condors have historically foraged and fed. Hopper Mountain NWR also protects a variety of plant communities that provide habitat for other species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Click here to read more about Hopper Mountain.

Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Originally a cattle ranch, this 14,097-acre refuge now provides habitat for at least 119 species of bird and is frequently used by the California condor.  In addition to the California condor, the Bitter Creek Refuge provides grassland, oak woodland, chaparral, pinion pine/juniper/oak woodland, and riparian and wetland habitat for Federally-listed endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant kangaroo rat, and species of Federal concern such as western spade foot toad, western horned lizard, and tri-colored blackbird.

Click here to read more about Bitter Creek.