Los Banos, California

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Los Banos is a city in Merced County, California, near the junction of State Route 152 and Interstate 5. Los Banos is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Merced,[2] at an elevation of 118 feet (36 m).[1] The population was 75,869 at the 2000 census. As of 2006 the World Gazetteer calculates the population as 78,054. The name los banos has its origins with Spanish and was named after a natural water spring that feeds natural wetlands in the western San Joaquín Valley. The original Spanish spelling was Los Baños, meaning "the baths" in reference to the adjacent water source.[3] Its official spelling is without the eñe. Official signs do not insert the tilde above the n. It can be pronounced as if the eñe were present as in "los banyos," or as it is spelled - an anglicized "loss bannos", though the latter is often preferred. The city is served by Los Banos Municipal Airport for air transport access.

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Geography and climate

Los Banos is located on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in an area north of the Westlands Water District at 37°03′30″N 120°51′00″W / 37.05833°N 120.85°W / 37.05833; -120.85.[1] To the west is the San Luis Reservoir and Interstate 5, which runs north-to-south between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Los Banos is located next to coastal range mountains and hills.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.1 km²), of which, 8.0 square miles (20.8 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.47%) is water. It sits approximately fifty feet above sea level in elevation.

This land is usually windy and receives rain about 20 times a year.

Los Banos sits on the southwestern edge of extensive national and state game refuges; wetlands that support waterfowl and other wildlife habitat along a stretch of the San Joaquin river that still carries water and the Grasslands Ecological Area, home to rare California Grasslands habitat. The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes San Luis National Wildlife Refuge which includes the Kesterson Unit, East Bear Creek, West Bear Creek and the Blue Goose Unit. Nearby are the Merced National Wildlife Refuge and the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. Fishers, hunters, birdwatchers and other recreational users flock to Los Banos year round.

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