National Wildlife Refuge System

Mission Statement

The Mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.


Guiding Principles

We are land stewards, guided by Aldo Leopold's teachings that land is a community of life and that love and respect for the land is an extension of ethics. We seek to reflect that land ethic in our stewardship and to instill it in others.

Wild lands and the perpetuation of diverse and abundant wildlife are essential to the quality of the American life.

We are public servants. We owe our employers, the American people, hard work, integrity, fairness, and a voice in the protection of their trust resources.

Management, ranging from preservation to active manipulation of habitats and populations, is necessary to achieve Refuge System and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service missions.

Wildlife-dependent uses involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, interpretation, and education, when compatible, are legitimate and appropriate uses of the Refuge System.

Partnerships with those who want to help us meet our mission are welcome and indeed essential.

Employees are our most valuable resource. They are respected and deserve an empowering, mentoring, and caring work environment.

We respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of our neighbors.

Last updated: February 28, 2014