- The Sweetwater Marsh NWR has 316 acres of salt marsh and coastal uplands. The refuge includes the largest emergent wetlands area remaining in San Diego Bay.
The refuge protects tidal marsh and adjacent upland habitat for more than 215 bird species. Two federally endangered species of bird (California tern and light-footed clapper rail), the State endangered Belding's savannah sparrow, and one threatened species of bird (western snowy plover), as well as one endangered species of plant (salt marsh bird's beak) are found here.
It is the only place in the United States where yerba reuma (Frankenia palmeri), a member of the heath family common in some coastal marshes of Baja California, grows naturally.
The Nature Interpretive Center operated by the City of Chula Vista offers extensive interpretive programs including: formal environmental education classes, a monthly newsletter, brochures, guided walks, special events, docent and volunteer programs, teacher-in-residence, and school programs. Other recreational activities include nature trails, wildlife-viewing platforms, and wildlife observation, study, and photography.
Sweetwater Marsh NWR is in central San Diego Bay in San Diego County, California.
From San Diego, drive south on Interstate 5. Take E Street exit at Chula Vista, turn right at first traffic light. Park in the lot and take a shuttle bus to the refuge and Chula Vista Nature Interpretive Center. Private vehicular access is not permitted.
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