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				7 Credit Robin Agarwal Monterey Spanish Shawl
Visitation: 269,000
Area: 312.39 Acres
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Top Banner Photo Credits
Bill Sullivan
Greg Connor
Sandrine Biziaux Scherson
Leslie Allen
Alice Cahill
Brian Phan
Robin Agarwal
McGrath State Beach - Site # 134

Background: Much more than just a typical southern California beach, this compact site adjacent to the Santa Clara River includes tall dunes, a river mouth marsh, 2 miles of beach, and a freshwater lake. A .75 mile nature trail weaves through the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve, ending at the river. Dunes shelter nesting California least terns and snowy plovers. During spring and fall, whimbrels, long-billed dowitchers, black-necked stilts, and many other birds visit the area. Gulls are common; brown pelicans and terns appear seasonally. Look among the willows, bulrushes, and tules lining the lake and river bank for red-winged blackbirds and snowy egrets. Grunion spawn along the beach during spring and summer. Littleneck and Pismo clams appear in the sand as the tide recedes.
Interpretive panels provide visitors with information about the flora, fauna and hydrology of the park.

The Habitat: At least eight separate ecosystems meet at McGrath State Beach: Estuary (20%), riparian (15%), upland (10%), fresh-water marsh (10%), saltwater marsh (5%), coastal dune (15%), sandy beach (20%), and freshwater lake (5%).

The Experience: The meeting of nine separate ecosystems within such a limited geographic extent is a primary reason for this site's ecological value. The fact that many of these ecosystems are related to coastal wetlands adds to the site's value.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: Trails. .1-mile accessible nature trail. Other trails are mostly level, hard-packed dirt, but are not necessarily accessible.

Viewing Tips: Excellent bird viewing during spring/summer and fall/winter. PLEASE KEEP DISTANCE FROM NESTING BIRDS.

Site Notes: Standing atop the old levee that once protected the park's campground from the Santa Clara River, it's possible to view a slice of California's once widespread coastal wetland habitat with its interplay of colors, sights, sounds and textures. Pelicans rest on sand bars at the river's mouth, while numerous waterfowl and shore birds dot the estuary's waters and shoreline. Beyond the fresh- and saltwater marshes, visitors can see beyond the coastal dunes to the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands on the horizon. Hard to believe that urban California is just minutes away.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura Harbor, San Buenaventura State Beach

Visitor Information: Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau - 805-385-8860 - www.oxnardtourism.com
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Everday
Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:30 PM
Year Round: Yes
Seasonal: Periodic flooding closes park, particularly during winter and spring rain events, although closures can occur at any time.

Road Information:   Paved.  Dirt. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: Occasional flooding may close park.
 Number of Parking Spaces: 20
Parking Fee: Yes
Proximity to viewing area:20 yards
 Pull-Through Parking: Yes
Parking Notes: 

How to Get There: In Ventura, take Highway 101 to Seaward Avenue; turn left.

Turn left onto Harbor Boulevard. Drive 4 miles (pass Ventura Harbor and cross Santa Clara River) to park entrance (on right).

Contact Information
Managing Agency: California State Parks
Agency Site URL: www.parks.ca.gov
Physical Address:2211 North Harbor Blvd.
Oxnard, CA 93036
Agency 2:911 San Pedro Street
Ventura, CA 93001
Manager Phone:805-585-1845 Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:(805) 654-4744
County: Ventura
Addition Website: