After extensive study from October 2006 through September 2007, an independent firm has determined that because the Refuge System experienced an 11 percent decline in real purchasing power between FY 2003 and the FY 2008 requested budget, the System has been unable to meet some of its strategic goals.

The report by Management System International (MSI) – titled, "An Independent Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System" – finds the Refuge System at least partially effective in nine of its 12 strategic goals. But in the case of two goals – protecting resources and visitors through law enforcement and strategically growing the system – the independent firm rated the Refuge System "ineffective."

The Refuge System was scored "highly effective" in one strategic goal: facilitating partnerships and cooperative projects. The firm specifically pointed to the Refuge System’s work with volunteer and Friends organizations as well as state fish and wildlife agencies. The report includes 11 recommendations on improving the Refuge System.

An Independent Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Refuge System is an independent evaluation that assesses the effectiveness of the NWRS, as per the 2007 Refuge System Strategic Plan. The evaluation was conducted by a contractor, Management Systems International (MSI). The report contains overall performance ratings, conclusions and recommendations for each of the Refuge System's twelve strategic outcome goals. Data from this report was gathered from many sources including interviews with staff and partners and site visits to Regional and field offices.


Summary: An Independent Evaluation of the Refuge System (1.8 MB PDF)

Full Report: An Independent Evaluation of the Refuge System (1.7 MB PDF)

Report Annexes (2.3 MB PDF)

MSI Action Plan (June 2009) (137 KB PDF)