National Wildlife Refuge System

Partnerships

The Fish and Wildlife Service enters into agreements with a wide range of organizations at the national, regional and local levels. These agreements are intended principally to encourage cooperative projects that benefit the National Wildlife Refuge System and the nation's wildlife resources. It allows organizations to contribute funds for facilities, projects or materials to benefit refuge visitors and to improve wildlife habitats.

It will also allow refuges to take advantage of the expertise and personnel of the various organizations in cooperative efforts ranging from habitat management to information and education programs focused on conservation and ethical use of natural resources. Examples of cooperative efforts include conservation communications, training, hunter education, scholarships for study of natural resources, conferences, and youth activities.

Because of personnel and funding constraints, agencies increasingly rely on volunteers and cooperating organizations to help in the successful execution of projects that would not otherwise be possible. The Service views these cooperative agreement as one that complements other formal volunteer programs. The contribution of funds or personnel assistance to the Service confers no special rights or privileges upon the contributor.


National Cooperative Programs

Earthwatch works with National Wildlife Refuge System biologists and cooperating scientists to gain a greater understanding of the resources on National Wildlife Refuges.

The Great Outdoor Recreation Pages in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service is helping to provide information about the National Wildlife Refuges.

Leave No Trace, Incorporated and four Federal Land management agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding related to land management and education issues regarding the responsible recreation use of Federal public lands and waters and implementation of the Leave No Trace (LNT) Program.

The National Audubon Society and the Fish and Wildlife Service agreement commits the two organizations to collaborate on local and national projects that will benefit individual wildlife refuges and the Refuge System. Typical projects include conducting nesting, breeding, and bird population studies, restoring habitat, preparing bird lists, and guiding birding and wildlife interpretive tours. Audubon chapters, affiliates, and members will be encouraged to meet with local refuge personnel to identify opportunities to work together and to volunteer their services and expertise. The Refuge Campaign helps to inform the public about the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) agreement is intended principally to enable local NRA members to volunteer on refuge projects. It allows the NRA to contribute funds for facilities, projects or materials to benefit refuge visitors. It will also allow refuges to take advantage of the expertise and personnel of local NRA chapters in cooperative efforts ranging from habitat management to information and education programs focused on conservation and ethical use of natural resources.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association works in partnership with the National Wildlife Refuge System to increase awareness of and appreciation for national wildlife refuges. Includes information on refuge events.

The North American Nature Photography Association cooperates with the Fish and Wildlife Service in support of fish and wildlife conservation, education and nature photography in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding on 10/8/97.

Safari Club International and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 1/29/97. The agreement builds on past cooperative research to include joint habitat restoration, education, and interpretive programs. SCI's 130 local chapters will match up with local refuges to build community awareness of refuge activities and support for System conservation goals.


Regional and Local Cooperative Programs

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is actively involved with the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society to provide information, tours and services to the local community and to refuge visitors.

Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research Program The National Wildlife Refuge System cooperative project with the University of New Mexico and the National Science Foundation at the Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) in the central Rio Grande Basin is part of a network of research sites that examines the responses of ecosystems to environmental changes. The Sevilleta LTER Program is located primarily at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro County, NM), but researchers also utilize areas in Cibola National Forest, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, El Malpais National Monument, and Bandelier National Monument.

If your office/organization is involved in a partnership with the National Wildlife Refuge System and would like to have it listed here, please contact Refuges@fws.gov.

Last updated: November 8, 2012