Memorandum of Understanding Between The National Audubon Society And The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Through The National Wildlife Refuge SystemI. Backgound/Authority
This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is made and entered into between the National Audubon Society, hereinafter referred to as the "NAS" and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, hereinafter referred to as the "Service." The Service is the principle Federal Government agency charged with the responsibility for carrying out programs related to fish and wildlife conservation throughout the Nation in accordance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-711); Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978(16 U. S. C. 712); and with other authorities. The NAS is a widely recognized conservation organization whose mission is: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.II. Purpose
The purpose of this MOU is to provide a framework upon which the NAS, its State and local Chapters and Affiliates and the Service and its Regional Offices build partnerships. Such partnerships will benefit conservation of the Service's trust species and fish and wildlife habitats and ecosystems with emphasis on public awareness and participation.III. Introduction
Whereas the Service is the Nation's leading Federal fish and wildlife management agency.
Whereas the Service manages, for the public good, over 540 refuges and wetland management districts comprising 92 million acres and other lands with a wide variety of fish, wildlife and recreational opportunities.
Whereas the NAS manages more than 100 wildlife sanctuaries comprising 150,000 acres set aside for the protection of birds and other wildlife.
Whereas the Service is implementing the 1996 Executive Order relating to management of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Whereas the NAS is a conservation organization with a membership of over 550,000 members, working on behalf of the environment in 518 communities across the Nation.
Whereas the NAS desires to promote the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plant resources and the natural communities upon which they depend.
Whereas the NAS was the first partner of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and supplied volunteer wardens for the first National Wildlife Refuges.
Whereas the NAS has historically promoted conservation of birds and their habitats.
Whereas the NAS has initiated several projects that would benefit the Service refuge Executive Order implementation.
Whereas both the NAS and the Service have certain common interests and responsibilities that include, but are not limited to: 1. Maintaining, conserving and restoring breeding and non-breeding populations of migratory birds; 2. Improving the productivity of wildlife habitat; 3. Monitoring the trends in wildlife populations, particularly related to neotropical migratory birds; 4. Improving public access to public lands for the purposes of environmental education, interpretation and wildlife observation, and 5. Promoting wise stewardship for Service lands.
Whereas both the Service and NAS are in support of the President's Executive Order - Management and General Public Use of the National Wildlife Refuge System which contains Guiding Principles related to Public Use, Habitat, Partnerships and Public Involvement for building greater public awareness of wildlife conservation objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the above premises, the parties agree as follows:IV. Mutual Responsibilities: The NAS Shall:
A. Encourage local Chapters, Affiliates and Sanctuaries to meet and collaborate with representatives of local Service offices to discuss and identify opportunities for cooperative work on mutually beneficial projects and activities as suggested in the Addendum.
B. Identify for the Service, NAS constituents' needs and concerns regarding use of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
C. Work with the Service to establish and implement information and educational programs oriented toward the conservation and enjoyment of wildlife within the National Wildlife Refuge System.The Service Shall:
A. Encourage Refuge units and other Service officials to collaborate with the local NAS Chapters and Affiliates to identify opportunities for cooperative work on mutually beneficial projects and activities as suggested.
B. Identify National Wildlife Refuge System lands available for the furtherance of this MOU, subject to applicable Federal laws, regulations, Refuge Unit Plans, and State comprehensive plans for the affected area, and subject to approval by the organization head or a designated representative.
C. Ensure that the NAS is aware of opportunities to participate in public involvement and process and events, especially those dealing with wildlife observation recreation opportunities.V. General Principles
In Witness Whereof, the parties hereto have executed this MOU as of the last date written below.