The mission of the CSU, Chico Research Foundation's Ecological Reserve System is to preserve critical habitat and to provide a natural area for environmental research and education.
The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve contains 3,950 acres of diverse canyon and ridge habitats, including 4.5 miles of Big Chico Creek, and contains a wide variety of habitats, including creek riffles and pools, riparian areas, oak woodlands, chaparral, pine forest, rock cliffs, and springs. These diverse habitats support hundreds of different wildlife species, including a number of listed species and species requiring large tracts of undisturbed habitat.
The Butte Creek Ecological Preserve is a 93-acre site along the middle section of Butte Creek. The property contains more than a mile of creek frontage, which is critical salmon habitat and spawning grounds, as well as habitat for many species of special status, including Chinook salmon and bald eagle.