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5600 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91411
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Wildlife Area Manager: (818) 756-9710

* Vicinity Map


General: Ringed by mountains, rivers and streams, the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is haven of rest for wildlife and humans alike, a welcome oasis within an urban setting. It is here where the visitor of today can get a sense of what this part of the San Fernando Valley might have been like before agriculture and urban settlement forever changed the Valley floor:

The leaves of willows, cottonwoods, and sycamores glistening in the breeze;
The calls of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds such as ducks, Canada geese, herons, and egrets penetrating the stillness  as they take flight after resting and foraging at the wildlife lake;
The musty scent of mulefat, sages, and mugwort heavy in the air after a winter's rain; and activity of small birds such as the goldfinch, woodpecker, and oriole as they search for food and shelter amongst the oak savannah.

Why Here?

The Los Angeles River drains the vast watershed of the San Fernando Valley and surrounding mountains--finally emptying into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. In years of heavy rainfall, this normally tame watercourse becomes a mighty force--as was the case in 1938 when torrential rains caused the river to flood adjacent farms and homes. Consequently, the U.s. Army Corps of Engineers channelized the river and built the Sepulveda Dam to capture and hold floodwaters for later gradual release down the river. Except for infrequent but dramatic flood episodes, this otherwise dry-land flood control basin, most of which is leased from the Corps by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks, plays host to diverse uses today including athletic fields, agriculture, golf courses, a fishing lake, parklands, a sewage treatment facility, AND A GROWING WILDLIFE RESERVE.


Forward-thinking citizens and government planners hatched the idea for a designated wildlife reserve in the 60s and 70s when much of the basin was open land or in agriculture and becoming surrounded by suburban growth. With so much land being developed for urban and recreational uses, some saw it critical to reserve lands in the lowest flood-prone basin areas and "re-create" a natural habitat for birds and small animals with native vegetation where people would be welcome as visitors.


Click here to download MAP


The present-day wildlife reserve is a product of several phases of development. The first effort in 1979 established the 48-acre riparian area south of Burbank Blvd. between the dam and The Los Angeles River. Formal establishment of the 60-acre habitat north of Burbank Blvd. between the dam and Haskell Creek in 1988 involved grading for the wildlife lake and extensive plantings of native annuals, shrubs, and trees. Pathways were created for educational and enjoyment purposes. The lake became filled with reclaimed water from the nearby Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in 1992.

The latest and most extensive addition to the area is the 1998 expansion project funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adding an educational staging area and amphitheatre, various pathway/signage/viewing area improvements, new pedestrian bridges over and a reconfiguration and revegetation of Haskell Creek, additional native plantings, and the formal inclusion of 60 additional acres west of Haskell Creek to Woodley Ave.

The resulting 225-acre Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve today is one of the finest refuges of its kind within a major urban area in the country. It serves not only as a restored natural habitat for wildlife but as a living laboratory for all to enjoy.


To be a healthy place for wildlife and for people to enjoy, the Wildlife Reserve needs your help.

To protect the plants that provide habitat, stay on the paths;
This is a refuge for wildlife--no dogs allowed;
Respect & protect the wildlife--no fishing or hunting;
To avoid conflicts with hikers & wildlife, bikes are not allowed;
Keep the wildlife area tidy & natural--use trash cans for all litter;
Feeding wildlife upsets their natural diet and makes them dependent on handouts--no feeding of ducks & other wildlife.

The Wildlife Reserve also needs volunteers to help maintain this special place. Opportunities for involvement are listed on the next panel.

To make a tax-deductible financial contribution to ongoing projects and upkeep of the Wildlife Reserve, use the tear-off form.

NOTE: To download the form, it must be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader, click this link CLICK HERE


WALKS to view and study more than 200 different species of birds seen in the wildlife reserve are conducted by the San Fernando Valley (SFV) Audubon Society. There's a Bird Walk on the first Sunday of every month from 8am-11:30 am, year-round. For families & beginners, there's a Bird Walk on the second Saturday of winter months between October and March starting at 8:30 A.M.and ending around 11:00 A.M.

GROUP HIKES & CLEAN-UPS are sponsored by environmental organizations including the California Native Plant Society, SFV Audubon, The River Project and Sierra Club.

The wildlife reserve serves as an outdoor classroom for EDUCATIONAL FIELD TRIPS for local school, sponsored by SFV Audubon.

INVOLVEMENT to track the migrating Canada Geese and promote habitat conservation originates through the Canada Goose Project. You can participate in the Goose Count from October through March on the following schedule: Sat. 3-6pm, Sun. 5:30am-8am, Tues. 3pm-6pm, Wed 5:30am-8am.

ADOPTION of habitat areas by volunteers including "Hummingbird Hill" and other projects (weeding, new planting, maintenance) are organized through the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee.

To join or volunteer in new or ongoing projects, call the committee or organization listed on this brochure.


CA Native Plant Society......(818) 881-3706
Canada Goose Project........(818) 769-1521 extention # 2
Los Angeles Audubon.........(323) 876-0202
S.F. Valley Audubon...........(310) 457-5796

Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains..(310) 455-1030

Sierra Club, S.F. Valley Group of
The Angeles Chapter........(818) 884-6210
SW Herpetology Society....(818) 503-2052
The River Project.............(818) 980-9660
TreePeople.....................(818) 753-4600

* Advisory to the Department of Recreation & Parks, City of L.A.......(818) 756-8190

Click here to download VICINITY MAP

The area is also reachable by Metro Bus
Line #154 (Burbank and Woodley) and
Line #164 (Victory and Woodley).

Information provided by the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee, originally produced as a printed brochure, April, 1999.