National Wildlife Refuge System

Archives: Summary of Wildlife and Habitat Recommendations

Recommendation WH 1: Develop integrated population goals and objectives (as appropriate) at the System, regional, ecosystem, and refuge levels; develop refuge priorities among species or species groups accordingly; and use the priorities to implement appropriate wildlife conservation strategies at each refuge.

Recommendation WH 2: Establish national, regional, and ecosystem habitat priorities to direct the strategic growth and long-term management of the System. Habitat priorities would be the basis for national, regional, and ecosystem habitat goals and objectives which will be incorporated in refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans and Habitat Management Plans.

Recommendation WH 3: Define how the System and each unit can best contribute to maintaining biodiversity, and determine biodiversity objectives and indicators for each refuge within the larger ecosystem and landscape perspective.

Recommendation WH 4: Develop national policies and a national management plan which address wilderness values on refuges, wilderness management capabilities, and evaluation of lands for wilderness or other special preservation designation.

Recommendation WH 5: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of existing water rights and needs for water quantity and timing in each region to include, where appropriate, remedies to resolve outstanding issues.

Recommendation WH 6: Identify and recommend solutions for external threats to refuge habitats, such as air and water quality and cumulative impacts from watershed development.

Recommendation WH 7: Review and revise existing policies to strengthen support and action for problem and invasive species management that is biologically justified and consistent with ecosystem and System priorities.

Recommendation WH 8: Develop refuge inventory and monitoring plans to ensure that refuges use standard protocols to develop baseline and trends data for selected species groups and habitats that are indicators of biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health.

Recommendation WH 9: Design or use existing database systems to store, analyze, and archive inventory and monitoring data to evaluate management practices on individual refuges, as well as link with System, flyway, and ecosystem databases.

Recommendation WH 10: Develop systematic habitat monitoring programs at the refuge, ecosystem, national, and international levels.

Recommendation WH 11: Ensure an interdisciplinary staff of specialists and increased use of advanced technologies at the refuge, ecosystem, regional and national levels (as appropriate) to provide habitat management and monitoring expertise for the System.

Recommendation WH 12: Address inadequate and inconsistent staffing and allocation of resources for biological programs by increasing biological staffing at all levels of the System (having each staffed refuge served by a field biologist), and funding base biological programs at each refuge as appropriations allow.

Recommendation WH 13: Develop a program to address career and professional needs of biological program staff by providing career ladders and by implementing a comprehensive training program.

Recommendation WH 14: Use adaptive management to evaluate effectiveness of wildlife conservation programs and periodically evaluate programs to determine if System, ecosystem, and individual refuge goals and objectives are being achieved.

Recommendation WH 15: Identify management-oriented research needs for each refuge based on System, ecosystem, and refuge goals. Develop an effective process to identify and provide resources required, as well as involve partners to accomplish high priority research.

Recommendation WH 16: Identify thresholds of disturbance for public use programs and develop associated standards and mitigative techniques that can be applied, as appropriate, by individual refuges to reduce conflict and achieve balance between public use and wildlife.

Recommendation WH 17: Develop a nationally coordinated approach, involving Ecosystem Teams and partners, for prioritizing lands and waters to support strategic growth in areas of greatest conservation concern.

Recommendation WH 18: Designate Land Management Demonstration Areas to facilitate development, testing, teaching, publishing, and demonstration of state-of-the-art management techniques that support the critical habitat management information needs for fish, wildlife, and plant conservation within the System and other lands.

Recommendation WH 19: Develop an outreach and interpretive program on refuges which specifically demonstrates and conveys to the American people the importance of sound land management for the conservation of native fish, wildlife, and plants.

Recommendation WH 20: Renew emphasis on reducing, reusing, and recycling of materials and products used on refuges, and ensure environmentally sound and sustainable management practices.

Last updated: October 20, 2008