December 3, 2000
A significant part of California’s Central Coast gained a measure of protection as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created the 2,553-acre Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. West of the town of Guadalupe, in San Luis Obispo County, the Guadalupe-Nipomo is the first National Wildlife Refuge along the central California coast.
The new refuge is part of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Ventura, Calif.
According to the USFWS, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge is an important part of the largest coastal dune area in California and is one of the few remaining relatively intact ecosystems of its type and size in the western United States.
More than 200 species of migratory and resident birds have been identified in this area, as well as a number of federally listed endangered and threatened species, including the Western snowy plover, California least tern and southern sea otter. The wetland areas within the refuge support Gambels’ watercress and marsh sandwort, both protected as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Concurrent with the announcement of the new refuge was the opening of a new Dunes Center building, a non-profit visitor, education and research center which promotes conservation of the dune ecosystem and the rich cultural and history of the community of Guadalupe. Interpretive displays and exhibits include an interactive “Virtual Reality Tour of the Dunes,” and software programs on birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects of the dunes.