Andree Clark Bird Refuge

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Andree Clark Bird Refuge, a 42-acre (170,000 m2) saltwater marsh is one of the largest wildlife refuges in Santa Barbara County, California, United States.[1] The refuge has a 29-acre (120,000 m2) freshwater/brackish lake, that is an artificially modified estuary, which drains through East Beach into the Pacific Ocean.


The refuge is bounded by the Santa Barbara Zoo, Highway 101, and East Cabrillo Boulevard.

The eastern and southern perimeter of the Bird Refuge have a bike path around the lake, that connects to the one along the beach to Shoreline Park. There walking paths along the northern shore and three viewing platforms for birdwatching and other wildlife observation.[1]

Natural history[edit]

Over 200 species of birds have been observed at the Bird Refuge, in both resident and migratory populations. Sensitive wildlife species include: Tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi), Western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata), and several birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.[1]

Some of the bird species commonly seen in the refuge include ruddy ducks, American coots, mallards, California gulls, western gulls, red-winged blackbirds, and black-crowned night herons.[2]


Originally, water from Sycamore Creek drained into the estuary. However, in the 1880s the construction of a railroad through the area blocked off the inflow of water. In the 1870s and early 1880s, Bradley's Race Track surrounded the lake.[3]

In the 1920s, the city of Santa Barbara restored the site for the purpose of providing a refuge for wild birds that are migrating through or permanently residing in the area.

In 1928, Huguette M. Clark, owner of "Bellosguardo" (now the Bellosguardo Foundation), the Clark Estate across from the salt pond, donated $50,000 to excavate the pond and create an artificial freshwater lake. Clark stipulated that the facility would be named Andree Clark Bird Refuge, in memory of her deceased sister.[3][4] The sisters were daughters of "Copper King" William A. Clark. Huguette Clark donated more funds in 1930 to complete work in the plans designed by locally renowned landscape designer and horticulturalist Ralph Stevens.[5]

Historic district contributing property

The Andree Clark Bird Refuge is a Historic district contributing property within the East Cabrillo Boulevard Parkway Historic District.[4][6]


  1. ^ a b c Santa Barbara Parks Department: Andree Clark Bird Refuge
  2. ^ "Expedition 1" (PDF). Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Days, M.L. (1977). Histories of individual parks Santa Barbara California. Santa Barbara, CA: City Planning Committee.
  4. ^ a b Conceptual Design Guidance Report for The East Cabrillo Boulevard Sidewalk Replacement Project Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Pioneer Profiles and Biographies. "Ralph Stevens (1882 - 1958)" The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Washington, D.C. USA
  6. ^ The East Cabrillo Boulevard location is within a State Historic District, and the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC), and the City are bound by conditions and restrictions of a “Preservation Covenant” that was agreed to in 1995 when the State relinquished a portion of State Highway 225 (Cabrillo Blvd) to the City. Council Agenda Report "Appeal Of Historic Landmarks Commission Approval For The East Cabrillo Boulevard Sidewalk Improvement Project" 11 December 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°25′16″N 119°39′36″W / 34.4212°N 119.66°W / 34.4212; -119.66