National Wildlife Refuge System

Current Priorities and Projects

Current Projects (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Current Priorities Abiotic Data: Ensure that each refuge can measure and use basic abiotic data about such environmental factors as sunlight, temperature, wind patterns and precipitation.
  • Adaptive Management: Focus on learning and adapting to create and maintain sustainable ecosystems. Adaptive management allows managers, scientists and other stakeholders to be flexible in the face of uncertainties while taking actions that make progress toward conservation objectives.
  • Air Quality Biomonitoring (AQB): Provide data that will enhance legal and policy-making decisions in light of climate change issues.
  • Baseline Biotic Inventories: Create a comprehensive, credible list of plant and animal species on refuge lands, which is accessible and easily updated. The list will be completed by end of fiscal year 2018.
  • Bird Inventory and Monitoring: Ensure that bird surveys on refuge lands are scientifically credible; and evaluate refuge contributions to local, regional, landscape, flyway, and continental objectives.  The data will be used to gauge the success of management and conservation efforts.
  • Coastal Marine Systems: Collect baseline ecological and environmental data to evaluate potential impacts of climate change and other stressors on wildlife and their habitats. I&M is supporting the installation of Rod Surface Elevation Tables (SETs) and analysis associated with the Sea-Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM).
  • Data Management: Ensure that I&M databases contain accurate, relevant, complete and current data to inform management decisions.
  • Endangered Species Act Reporting: Provide information on the status and monitoring of species in the Refuge System.
  • Fire Monitoring: Assemble monitoring data to define historic and future fire risks and gauge the management and recovery success.
  • Invasive Species Inventory and Monitoring: Ensure that the Refuge System has the information and technical guidance to control key invasive species threats or stressors; establish coordinated adaptive management system  across Refuge System that includes standard protocols for early detection, inventory and monitoring.
  • Inventory and Monitoring Plan (IMP): Create a summary, ranking and justification for surveys that a refuge or other field station plans to undertake.  
  • Phenological Monitoring: Use phenology, or key seasonal events, as a teaching tool promoting the understanding of species' response to ecological changes, in partnership with USA National Phenology Network.
  • Refuge Condition Assessment: Ensure production of periodic standardized reports about the state of habitat and wildlife species.
  • Surrogate Species Monitoring: Ensure that surrogate species monitoring surveys are scientifically credible and evaluate refuge contributions to local, regional and landscape-scale population and habitat objectives; and are coordinated with other Service programs and partners.
  • Systems Development: Design, develop and maintain an integrated data management system.
  • Vegetation Mapping: Provide summaries of vegetation resources and ensure each refuge can efficiently acquire vegetative covers datasets that meet their specific needs.  I&M has compiled a set of land-cover data the NWRS based on the National Land-Cover Dataset (NLCD) data.
  • Water Resources Inventory and Monitoring: Provide innovative, relevant and timely information, assessments and guidance to refuge staff, regional and national management, and partners to improve management decisions and help meet legal requirements.   
  • Wildlife Health: Develop nationally coordinated monitoring effort that incorporates wildlife health surveillance; trains employees to minimize potential for disease and zoonotic agent transmissions; develop baseline database to detect changes and identify high risk areas for disease.
  • Wilderness Character Monitoring: Work with partners to establish nationally consistent approach for assessing and monitoring wilderness with Refuge System. 
Last updated: June 28, 2013