See the CCP
The CCP is provided here in portable document format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view the files; Acrobat Reader is available as a free download from Adobe.
Table of Contents/Figures/Tables (147 KB)
Chapter 1: Introduction and Planning Background (460 KB)
Chapter 2: The Planning Process (198 KB)
Chapter 3: Refuge Environment and Management (3.3 MB)
Chapter 4: Future Management Direction (1.6 MB)
Chapter 5: Plan Implementation (144 KB)
Appendix A: Finding of No Significant Impact (281 KB)
Appendix B: Land Protection Plan (793 KB)
Appendix C: Compatibility Determinations (307 KB)
Appendix D: Appropriate Use Determinations (164 KB)
Appendix E: Floristic Quality Assessment (137 KB)
Appendix F: Bibliography (128 KB)
Appendix G: Summary of Refuge Ecosystems (85 KB)
Appendix H: Birds of Special Consideration (83 KB)
Appendix I: Invasive Plants (135 KB)
Appendix J: Species Lists (343 KB)
Appendix K: Research Publications (2001–2011) (132 KB)
Appendix L: Compliance Requirements (103 KB)
Appendix M: Glossary (116 KB)
Appendix N: List of Preparers (74 KB)
Neal Smith NWR Comprehensive Conservation Plan
The Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for Neal Smith NWR was approved on January 28, 2013. The CCP will guide management of Neal Smith NWR over the next 15 years and will ensure that the Refuge fulfills its established purposes and contributes to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The complete CCP and a summary can be viewed and downloaded on this website. Paper copies and compact discs will be available soon in limited supply by emailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Refuge office at (515) 994-3400.
The CCP establishes three goals and 23 objectives for meeting those goals. Some of the objectives are departures from previous management. Key changes to Neal Smith NWR programs that will be implemented over the next 15 years include:
Tallgrass Prairie Habitats
- Increase the diversity of native plants on Refuge prairies, savannas, and sedge meadows.
- Convert all cropland to native vegetation; use short-term farming to prepare seedbeds on restoration sites.
- Use an integrated program of fire and grazing to emulate historic disturbance patterns and maximize the wildlife benefits of Refuge habitat.
- Maintain a mix of tall, medium, and short habitat structure to meet the diverse needs of grassland-dependent birds.
- Monitor progress toward meeting habitat objectives; evaluate the effectiveness of management actions.
Landscape-Scale Development and Habitat Loss
- Work with partners to further reduce erosion and improve water quality throughout the watershed.
- Work with partners to establish wildlife habitat corridors between the Refuge, Lake Red Rock, and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt.
- Expand the Refuge boundary to the east and west by 3,210 acres to include all tributaries of Walnut Creek that flow through the Refuge.
- Expand environmental education, interpretation, volunteer, and community outreach programs. Review and update the Refuge hunting plan.
- Review and update exhibits, brochures, signs, and website.
Located 18 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa, Neal Smith NWR was established in 1990 as Walnut Creek NWR. The name was changed in 1998 to honor Congressman Neal Smith, whose support was instrumental in establishment of the Refuge. The Refuge is authorized to acquire up to 11,875 acres of land to reconstruct a piece of the tallgrass prairie and savanna ecosystem that is Iowa's natural heritage. More than 5,000 acres have been acquired so far.
Refuge staff works with state conservation officers, schools, scientists, and prairie enthusiasts to collect and plant rare prairie and savanna seeds. Small savanna and prairie remnants within Refuge boundaries are being protected. Mowing, brush cutting, and prescribed burning are used to manage both planted and remnant sites. Ongoing monitoring and research guide the restoration process.
The Visitor Center provides a major environmental education facility and visitor services. Miles of trails radiate out from the Center, and the Refuge offers outdoor activities such as teacher workshops, birding, hiking, biking, and wildlife watching. Bison and elk have been reintroduced to the Refuge to demonstrate the natural role of large herbivores in the tallgrass ecosystem, and visitors can drive through the 700-acre bison enclosure.
For information on Neal Smith NWR, please contact the Refuge at:
(505) 994-3400; 1-800-877-8339 (TTY, Federal Relay Service)
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 399
9981 Pacific Street
Prairie City, IA 50228
These are the steps that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service follows in comprehensive conservation planning; the step that Neal Smith NWR has reached is highlighted:
- Preplanning: Plan the Plan
- Initiate Public Involvement and Scoping
- Review Vision Statement and Goals and Determine Significant Issues
- Develop and Analyze Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
- Prepare a Draft CCP and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Document
- Prepare and Adopt Final CCP
- Implement Plan, Monitor and Evaluate
- Review and Revise the Plan