Hidden Gem. Natural Wonder.
The IRWD San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary is a true hidden gem located in the heart of busy Orange County. The marsh encompasses over 300 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands, half of which have been restored to a natural state. The remaining acres are quality habitat and are not in need of restoration. Nearly two-thirds the size of New York City's Central Park, the San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary has become one of Southern California's most notable nature respites.
Hours: Dawn until dusk - 7 days a week
Address: 5 Riparian View, Irvine, CA
(Visitors to the San Joaquin Marsh Campus, which includes the Duck Club, Audubon House, IRWD Visitors' Center and IRWD Learning Center need to enter Riparian View from Campus Drive due to construction activity in the area. Google Map for Riparian View Entrance off Campus Drive: Please do not use the entrance off Michelson because there is no access to these facilities from this entrance. Visitors are strongly discouraged from using a GPS mapping device to find the entrance because these directions do not work.)
The IRWD San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary is a place for all to enjoy the beauty of nature. Visitors can walk along 12 miles of trails, watch the more than 200 bird species that visit the marsh, take photographs or simply relax under a native willow and listen to the sounds of nature. As a quiet place of reflection, vehicles, bicycles, dogs, horses and other animals are not permitted in the Marsh.
The wetlands are a critical component of IRWD's Natural Treatment System, as they naturally clean urban runoff from San Diego Creek and help to protect the environmentally sensitive Upper Newport Bay. After interacting with the bulrush and other plants for seven to ten days, up to 70 percent of the nitrogen is removed. The cleaner water is returned to the creek to continue its journey to Upper Newport Bay and the ocean.
The Marsh is full of educational opportunities serving as a living laboratory for students, teachers and the public. In cooperation with Discovery Science Center and the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, people can enjoy a variety of wildlife educational programs and tours, including an active school field trip program.
See The Beauty of the Marsh - Watch This Video