National Wildlife Refuge System

Refuges are Places Where Wildlife Comes First


The National Wildlife Refuge System is a national and international leader in habitat management and a center for excellence in which the goal of wildlife conservation demands the best science and technology. Biological monitoring and habitat management enable the Refuge System to meet the life-long needs of fish, wildlife and plants on publicly owned lands.

The concept of restoring and maintaining biodiversity is applied at the level of individual refuges, but there is also biodiversity within species, among species and in entire ecosystems and regions. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service defines biological diversity as the "variety of living organisms and the genetic differences between them and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur."

In 1998, the Service produced a National Wildlife Refuge System Biological Needs Assessment to provide a benchmark to help measure progress toward fulfilling the biological mandates of the Refuge Improvement Act of 1997. It is intended to serve as the baseline which will mark the Service's progress in the 21st century.

Refuge Update November - December 2011: Wildlife Biology in the 21st Century (965 kPDF)

Last updated: November 7, 2012