U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Mother Lode Field Office|
Cosumnes River Preserve
The Cosumnes River Preserve is home to California's largest remaining valley oak riparian forest, and is one of the few protected wetland habitat areas in the state.
This habitat has been reduced by more than 90% of its historical occurrence in California.
The Preserve includes 46,000 acres of central valley grasslands, vernal pools, wetlands and valley oak forests.
The Cosumnes River is the only remaining unregulated (undammed) river on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In its lower reaches, it flows through one of the most biologically rich regions in California's Central Valley, before merging with the Mokelumne River to flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and eventually the Pacific Ocean. The Cosumnes River Preserve was created to safeguard much of this unique landscape.
Nestled in the heart of California's Central Valley, The Preserve is a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and wintering waterfowl.
Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on or near the Preserve, including the State-listed threatened Swainson hawk, greater and lesser sandhill cranes, Canada geese and numerous ducks.
Visit Cosumnes River Preserve Homepage
Cosumnes River Preserve’s Vision Statement:
“The Cosumnes River Preserve Partners envision the permanent protection of a continuous riparian corridor extending from the Cosumnes headwaters to the Delta, including adjacent floodplain and wetland habitats, and a vast vernal pool grassland complex supporting endangered species.
The Partners will utilize stewardship and compatible ranching and farming activities as methods to sustain native plant and wildlife communities and the processes that perpetuate a dynamic mosaic of habitats.
We will provide opportunities for people of all ages to appreciate the flora and fauna of the Cosumnes River Preserve and to experience being part of a natural landscape.”
Mission of the Cosumnes River Preserve:
The Cosumnes River Preserve Partnership:
The Cosumnes River Project began with an 85 acre plot purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 1984. As partnering agencies joined the project, they formed the Cosumnes River Preserve in 1987. Today it is larger than 46,000 acres, or approximately 72 square miles – an area that is greater than the City of San Francisco. The bulk of the property stretches east to west along the Cosumnes River corridor, between Interstate 5 and Highway 99.
Seven of the nine partners own land in fee title at the Cosumnes River Preserve. Through the use of conservation easements, private land owners also contribute to the total area which is now permanently protected by the Preserve. The seven land-owning partners are:
Bureau of Land Management - Mother Lode Field Office
Visit our "partners" homepage Cosumnes River Preserve
A significant portion of Preserve lands, including most of the conservation easements, are utilized for agriculture and grazing. Responsible farming practices can benefit resident and migratory wildlife by providing both food and habitat. Remnants of grain harvests spread seeds for critters to collect, flooded rice fields provide ponds for waterfowl and cattle grazing promotes the growth of wildflowers in vernal pools by controlling grasses.
All of the Preserve lands are permanently protected from urban and commercial development either through fee title ownership by a Preserve partner or by protection in perpetuity by a conservation easement. Conservation easements are purchased from willing sellers. When the preserve purchases a conservation easement from a willing seller, all of the landowner’s rights are reserved to the landowner with the exception of the right to develop the property for urban or commercial uses.
Phone Number: (916) 684-2816
From the Willow Slough Trailhead, you can continue south on the new trail for 0.2 miles to the Lost Slough Wetlands Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is on the right (west) side and continues south to the Visitor Center. The trail is one mile and is wheelchair accessible. The Lost Slough Wetlands Boardwalk is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Cosumnes River Preserve Visitor Center is another four-tenths of a mile south along Franklin Blvd on the left (east) side.
The Visitor Center is open and staffed by volunteers on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, including holidays. Open on weekdays, but hours vary. The Visitor Center deck and outdoor exhibits are open to the public even when the indoor exhibit room is closed.
The Nature Conservancy acquired the first property along the Cosumnes River in 1984. Ten years later a visitor center was constructed but an arson fire in 1995 damaged the structure beyond repair. The remains were torn down and the current facility was completed in 1997.
This building houses an exhibition room with interpretive displays and operates as an office for staff of the various partners, including the Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, Sacramento Co. Dept. of Regional Parks and California Department of Fish and Game.
The Preserve’s Wood Duck Program is associated with a statewide effort that has been supported and coordinated by the California Waterfowl Association since 1991, when the California Wood Duck Program first began. An organized group of volunteers monitors, maintains, builds and replaces the 160 Wood Duck boxes located on the Preserve.
Volunteers also take an active role in managing and monitoring bird nest boxes for western blue birds and tree swallows. Nest box monitoring began in 2003 and its 67 boxes are part of a greater project studying tree swallows and their tropical nearest relatives from Alaska to Argentina.
NO dogs are allowed:
This rule is also in place for the safety of you and your pet. There are some animals that are potentially harmful to your dog, like mountain lions and venomous snakes. Pets also attract parasites, like ticks and mosquitoes, and increase the risk of exposure to poison oak.
Camping and Lodging facilities:
Food and Supplies:
What to bring:
Cougar Floodplain Restoration Project Public Scoping Meetings
The meetings will be held at the Preserve's Visitor Center
The Preserve will host public scoping meetings in order to receive input from members of the public on the Cougar Floodplain Restoration Project. The purpose of the meetings would be to solicit input from any interested parties regarding the scope and potential designs for the proposed project.
The Cougar Wetland Unit of the Cosumnes River Preserve is located off Orr Road, southwest of the McFarland Living History Ranch, near Galt, CA.
The proposed project would provide a rare opportunity to restore historic floodplain connectivity to the lower portion of a Central Valley river, an area generally defined by its degraded channels lacking complexity, few connections to side channels, backwaters, or low elevation floodplains.
If the historic floodplain is re-established, the restoration would have multiple ecosystem benefits, including endangered species recover, rare habitat restoration, flood amelioration, and recreation.