Description - Modoc NWR was established in 1960 to manage and protect migratory waterfowl. The refuge lies at 4,300 feet elevation at the confluence of the North and South forks of the Pit river in northeast California.
- Modoc NWR was established in 1960 to manage and protect migratory waterfowl. Water is the key to attracting wildlife to this high desert area. An extensive system of ponds is maintained by water which is diverted from Pine Creek and Parker Creek into Dorris Reservoir. These areas provide summer brood habitat, migration stop over water, and water for resident wildlife.
The habitat consists of 6,283 acres of ponds, irrigated meadows, natural floodplains, marsh communities, cereal grain croplands, and sagebrush/juniper uplands. This habitat is modified by being geographically located on the western edge of the Great Basin desert with a resulting severe climate.
The wildlife consists of large concentrations of waterfowl, including Canada geese, mallards, cinnamon teal, wigeon, and pintails. Tundra swans stop during their migrations, while white pelicans are seen throughout the summer. Sandhill cranes nest on the refuge and mule deer and pronghorn antelope are also present.
Recreation - Recreation activities include wildlife observation, study, and photography. Driving and hiking tour loops are available year around. Observation blinds are accessible for wheel chairs, along with a wildlife observation overlook on Highway 395. Boat launching, waterfowl hunting, and fishing are also available to the public.
Office hours are 8:00-4:30, Monday through Friday.
Climate - The weather in northeastern California is particularly unpredictable and visitors should be ready for all conditions throughout the year. The variable climate ranges from cool, dry summers to cold, severe, wet winters. Temperatures can drop to below freezing every month of the year. Winter temperatures reach as low as -35 F, although common daytime temperatures rise to the 30's and 40's.
The refuge lies at 4,300 feet elevation at the confluence of the North and South forks of the Pit river in northeast California. It is located approximately 2-1/2 miles southeast of Alturas. Signs are located at the south end of town.