California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Petaluma Marsh Wildlife Area - Marin & Sonoma Counties

fishing boating Waterfowl Hunting Allowed Wildlife Viewing Hunting with Shotgun Allowed Boat Access Only
The symbols above are activities permitted on this Wildlife Area. Click for more info.

Location: Marin and Sonoma Counties - Southeast of Petaluma.

Phone Number: (707) 944-5500

Map: Directional Map (PDF)

Area Regulations:

  • No rifles or pistols may be used or possessed
  • Camping and trailers are not allowed

Special Restrictions:

  • Bahia, Day Island, Green Point, Novato Creek, Point Sonoma, and Rush Creek Units are closed to hunting, firearms, and archery equipment use
  • Dogs are not allowed March 2 through June 30 (all units)

Access: Accessible by boat only via the Petaluma River or San Antonio Creek. To access the Petaluma River from Highway 37, take the Black Point exit. The launch is under the highway along the south side of the Highway 37/Petaluma River Bridge. From the Petaluma Marina, take the Highway 116/Lakeville Road exit. Go east on Highway 116/Lakeville Road, then turn right on Baywood Drive.

Description: This wildlife area is comprised of several units totalling 4,191 acres of tidal salt marsh, mudflats, coastal oak woodlands, and coastal scrub habitats. The Petaluma River Unit is the largest remaining natural tidal brackish marsh in California, supporting primarily pickleweed, cordgrass, alkali bulrush, and saltgrass. The upland habitat in the area supports deer, raccoons, jackrabbits, and foxes, among others. Migratory bird species use the area most heavily during the fall and winter months, but many can be found year round. Wetland bird species include willits, curlews, dowitchers, night herons, and black-bellied plovers.

Recreational Use: Type C Wildlife Area - no permits, passes, or reservations are required.

  • Birdwatching, fishing, and wildlife viewing are all permitted


  • Allowed for waterfowl, coots, moorhens, and rabbits

Facilities: Restrooms and water available at the Petaluma Marina.

PLEASE NOTE: Area regulations are subject to change. Special restrictions on recreational uses, hunt days and methods of take are listed in the current year's issue of Hunting and Other Public Uses on State and Federal Areas, available at CDFW offices and places where licenses are sold.

KC/WLB 08/09