Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region


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Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP)

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act) requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for each national wildlife refuge (NWR) by the year 2012. The Chassahowitzka NWR Complex of refuges involves CCP planning efforts for three distinct planning areas: Tampa Bay Refuges, Crystal River NWR, and Chassahowitzka NWR.  Each CCP takes 3 to 4 years from initiation (preplanning) to adoption by the Service.

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

The CCP for Chassahowitzka NWR was approved September 10, 2012 and is now available for download.

Tampa Bay Refuges (Pinellas, Passage Key, and Egmont Key NWRs)

The final CCP for the Tampa Bay refuges was completed in 2010 and is available at:

Copies are also available by contacting the refuge complex at: (352)563-2088.


For information about Tampa Bay Refuges:

Mary Morris, Natural Resource Planner, 850/567-6202 or
Gisela Chapa, Assistant Refuge Manager, 352/586-9845

For information about Crystal River NWR:
Cheri M. Ehrhardt, AICP, Natural Resource Planner, 321/861-2368 or
Joyce Kleen, Wildlife Biologist, 352/563-2088 (ext. 211)

For information about Chassahowitzka NWR:

Mary Morris, Natural Resource Planner, 850/567-6202 or
Michael Lusk, Refuge Manager, 352/563-2088 (ext. 202)


About CCPs

Generally, a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP):

  • Is a 15-year refuge management plan;
  • Serves the purposes of the refuge;
  • Describes the desired future conditions of a refuge;
  • Provides consistency and continuity; and
  • Provides long-range guidance and management direction for a refuge manager and refuge staff.

The multi-year CCP Process includes the following steps:

  • Conduct preplanning (e.g., research and analysis of needs);
  • Conduct public scoping (i.e., obtain public input on priority issues);
  • Prepare a Draft CCP and associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document;
  • Conduct an internal review of the report;
  • Hold a public review and comment period on the Draft CCP and associated NEPA document;
  • Create a Final CCP;
  • Fulfill all applicable NEPA requirements;
  • Implement and monitor the CCP over 15 years; and
  • Review and revise the CCP within 15 years.

Purposes of the Plan

  • Provide a clear statement regarding the management of the refuge for the next 15 years;
  • Provide refuge neighbors, visitors, the public, and government officials with an understanding of refuge management actions on and around the refuge;
  • Ensure that the refuge's management actions are consistent with the mandates of the National Wildlife Refuge System; and
  • Provide a basis for the development of budget requests on the refuge's operational, maintenance, and capitol improvement needs.

Who will be developing the plan?

The planning process will be coordinated and the plan will be written by staff at Chassahowitzka NWR and the Natural Resource Planner, who is a regional planner.  Refuge staff will coordinate with other federal, state and local agency staff.  The public will have the opportunity to express thoughts and suggestions during designated public comment periods.


The five refuges of the Chassahowitzka NWR Complex are among 550 refuges and conservation units within the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System). This system is a network of United States lands and waters managed specifically for wildlife.   It is administered by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Improvement Act states that the Refuge System’s mission is to: …“administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans”.

Purposes of the Refuge

The purposes of the refuge are tied to the executive orders and legislative acts during establishment and expansion.  The purposes shown here are based upon land acquisition documents and authorities.  The unit purposes may also have come from deed restrictions, management agreements with primary land managers and congressionally established wilderness designations, which were not part of the acquisition documents and authorities.

Pinellas Key National Wildlife Refuge Purposes -

“….for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.”

“…suitable for (1) incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development. (2) the protection of natural resources, (3) the conservation of endangered species or threatened species…. "

Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge Purpose –

“…as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”

Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge Purpose –

“…administer the refuge in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966...”

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Purpose --

... to conserve (A) fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species or threatened species .... or (B) plants ... 16 U.S.C. 1534 (Endangered Species Act of 1973)

... suitable for...(1) incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, (2) the protection of natural resources, (3) the conservation of endangered species or threatened species ... 16 U.S.C. 460k-1 ... the Secretary ... may accept and use ... real ... property. Such acceptance may be accomplished under the terms and conditions of restrictive covenants imposed by donors ...16 U.S.C. 460k-2 (Refuge Recreation Act (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4), as amended).

... the conservation of the wetlands of the Nation in order to maintain the public benefits they provide and to help fulfill international obligations contained in various migratory bird treaties and conventions…16 U.S.C 3901 (B) 100 Stat.3583 (Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986)

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Purpose --

“...for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.” 16 U.S.C. §715d (Migratory Bird Conservation Act)

“...wilderness areas...shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness ...” 16 U.S.C. §1131 (Wilderness Act)

“...for the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources...” 16 U.S.C. §742 f(a)(4) “... for the benefit of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and services. Such acceptance may be subject to the terms of any restrictive or affirmative covenant, or condition of servitude...” 16 U.S.C. §742 f(b)(1) (Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956)

Last updated: August 8, 2017