The Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge

The Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge (SCWR) is a two acre habitat that has been set aside in perpetuity solely for the benefit of our wildlife. Over twenty species of birds nest at the site, and about 100 species of migrating birds visit it each year. The site is home to deer and many small mammals, and coyote and fox visit regularly. All of these animals depend on the site’s creek, the main source of drinking water within 50 acres of contiguous, undeveloped wildlife habitat.

Open Space Sausalito (OSS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit and continues to raise funds to support its ongoing operations, including a native plant restoration project. OSS directors serve as unpaid volunteers.

The SCWR it is not open to the public. As a wildlife refuge, the SCWR must be protected from trampling, erosion, and other wildlife disturbances.

Protect Cypress Ridge

Cypress Ridge is a 15 acre open space preserve in Northern Sausalito just a half mile south of the SCWR. The citizens of Sausalito paid $560,000 for it in 1976 to preserve it forever, but its preservation depends on it remaining zoned as open space. We want the city to place a conservation easement on Cypress Ridge just as OSS did with the SCWR in 2016 after we purchased it. This will make the status of Cypress Ridge permanent. To learn more about this project, visit our partner’s website at Conserve Open Space. is comprehensive, well-written, beautifully illustrated, instructional, and just plain fascinating. Really explains the conservation easement process and why it is so important to humans and a constellation of wildlife that inhabit these precious ecological spaces.” 

  -Janice Carragher, former Assignment Editor at KCRA TV


History of the SCWR

Open Space Sausalito (OSS) purchased a privately held, 50% interest in the property for $225,000 in June 2016. OSS granted a conservation easement to Marin Open Space Trust in August 2016 to ensure the land will always remain a wildlife refuge. The City of Sausalito then donated its 50% share of the property to OSS in September 2016, and the City rezoned the parcel as open space in March 2017. See our History of the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge for more details.

The funds to purchase the property were raised from generous citizens throughout the City of Sausalito. We also received grants from the Mays Family Foundation, and from the Transit Authority of Marin and CalTrans.

The Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge was formerly known as the Lincoln-Butte Parcel. OSS renamed it in July 2018 using the archaic spelling “Saucelito”, the nineteenth century variant of Sausalito that the City was originally registered under. The name is Spanish for “little willow grove”, and it hearkens back to a time when Sausalito had many willow trees growing around spring fed creeks as can still be found at the SCWR today.

Sausalito Historical Society

Native Plant Restoration

Open Space Sausalito has begun a native plant restoration project at the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge. The project will improve the habitat for birds, and provide nectar plants for Monarch butterflies and Mission Blue butterflies. Over thirty different types of shrubs and wildflowers native to Sausalito have been planted so far. Learn more…


Douglas Tallamy on Native Plants and Wildlife

Douglas Tallamy, Wildlife Ecology professor at the University of Delaware, says native plants have a big impact on wildlife, particularly birds. Learn why and what it means for the SCWR.



There are two ways to make a donation to Open Space Sausalito:

Checks can be made to “Open Space Sausalito” and mailed to:

Open Space Sausalito
65 Rodeo Avenue, #24
Sausalito, CA 94965

Donations can also be made safely using a credit or debit card.

  • A PayPal account is not required.
    Click on the yellow PayPal Donate button below, then click on “Donate with a Debit or Credit Card”. Ignore the “PayPal Log in” box and just scroll down the page to insert your credit card information.
  • Your credit card data is secure and protected! PayPal will not store it if you don’t create an account.

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Updated Biologist Report

Field biologist Jennifer Berry’s final report on the ecosystem at the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge is now available. It has a detailed description of the plants and wildlife found at the site, and a plan on how best to maintain the site as a riparian habitat. There is also a summary of her earlier report on the importance of preserving the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge as an undeveloped wildlife habitat.


Facts about the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge (SCWR):
  • Biologist Jennifer Berry has used motion-activated cameras to record wildlife traveling to the SCWR in search of water. Her research has shown that this site is critical to the survival of Sausalito’s wildlife, including apex species like grey fox, at least one California Species of Concern, and numerous bird species including owls, red-tailed hawks, and other falcons.
  • The site is recognized in the City’s General Plan as valuable habitat, one of only two riparian areas in Sausalito with a creek that feeds into the bay.
  • The site’s perennial creek is documented in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory.


See our Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge (SCWR) wildlife video with deer, fox, coyote, quail, and more, and our deer video both filmed with motion-activated cameras at the SCWR.


Welcome To Our Site

Dear Sausalito Resident,

The two acre Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge (SCWR) is a critical part of Sausalito’s ecosystem. This wildlife environment is both essential and beautiful, providing the nearby area with a buffer from the noise and pollution of highway 101. A land bridge connection with Sausalito’s Cypress Ridge Open Space allows these two properties to share the same wildlife habitat that shelters over 100 bird and mammal species. The satellite image below shows the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge (Lincoln/Butte Parcel on the map) at the far left of 50 contiguous acres of open space outlined in yellow, blue, and green. The creek within the SCWR is the main source of water for all the wildlife living in this region.


Motion-activated cameras were set up along some of the animal trails seen in the map above, and images were captured of wildlife making daily trips between Cypress Ridge and the SCWR to obtain water. Below are two such images showing a coyote and a fox making this journey.

Open Space Sausalito (OSS) is a resident-led nonprofit that was organized to buy and preserve the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge to protect it from development.

Please take a moment to read on this web site the History of the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge and our FAQ, and then consider making a tax deductible donation. If you still have questions then don’t hesitate to call us.

If you support us, please share this post on Facebook or Twitter below.


Bill Monnet, President (415-999-1965)
Leon Huntting, Treasurer (415-377-9612)
Linda Pfeifer, Secretary (415-235-0565)
Jim Richard, Native Plant Restoration and Web Design (415-272-3476)


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