Western blue-eyed grass
Nestled at the beginning of California's Central Valley Bay-Delta, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is an urban refuge directly outside of the greater Sacramento metropolitan area. Established in 1994 to protect and enhance local and migratory wildlife and Central Valley habitats, the refuge's 6,421 acres of managed grasslands, wetlands, freshwater lakes and riparian forest provide critical resting, foraging and breeding habitat for hundreds of species in an area imperiled by fast encroaching urban development. Some of the popular bird species include Sandhill cranes, Swainson's hawks, burrowing owls and Western meadowlarks. Invasive plants, such as yellow star thistle and perennial pepperweed, are being removed and replaced with native plants. Several plant species from the Refuge have been identified as being particularly useful for making phenological observations.