Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge
Comprehensive Conservation Planning
The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-57) requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to develop comprehensive conservation plans (CCP) for each national wildlife refuge. CCPs are 15-year plans that describe the desired future conditions for a refuge. They provide long-range guidance and management direction to:
- Achieve the purposes of the refuge,
- Help fulfill the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System,
- Maintain, and where appropriate, restore the ecological integrity of the refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System,
- Help achieve the goals of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and
- Meet other mandates.
The CCP planning process is iterative, requiring each refuge to re-evaluate their CCP every 15 years or earlier as needed. This provides refuges with opportunity to adapt and improve their future management in response to lessons learned from previous decisions and actions.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) also mandates that the Service write either an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) to accompany each CCP. An EA or EIS describes and analyzes the environmental consequences anticipated from implementing the proposed management alternatives described in the CCP. NEPA also requires that the Service include the public in the CCP planning process, providing a unique opportunity for individuals and local communities to be involved in the long-term management of the refuge.