The Big Dry Arm Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve March Morning on the Platte River After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
Refuge System - Biological Resources
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Division of Biological Resources


Invasive Species | Inventory and Monitoring | Wildlife Health | Open / Close All

  • Service biologists conducting field work. Credit: USFWS.

    Service biologists and volunteers conducting field work. Credit: USFWS.

  • Aerial view of wetlands. Credit: USFWS.

    Aerial view of wetlands. Credit: USFWS.

  • Service biologists conducting field work. Credit: USFWS.

    Service biologists conducting field work. Credit: USFWS.

  • Service biologist at work. Credit: USFWS.

    Service biologist at work. Credit: USFWS.

  • Cattle and birds. Credit: USFWS.

    Careful management of interactions between livestock and wildlife can reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Credit: USFWS.

  • Biologist collects wildlife sample. Credit: USFWS.

    Service staff submits wildlife mortalities to diagnostic laboratories in order to ensure rapid detection of any disease that could threaten wildlife, livestock, or humans. Credit: USFWS.

  • Duck with a transmitter being held by a Service employee. Credit: USFWS.

    Research on migratory bird movements and survival helps us learn and adapt management to changing environmental conditions. Credit: USFWS.

“The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of land 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 generation of Americans.” NWRS Improvement Act of 1997

Sound science is the foundation to accomplishing the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Division of Biological Resources provides our managers with support and information that will help them with their natural resources decision making. We look at the full range of ecological effects in a variety of settings at both the local and national levels. We consider the interrelatedness of natural resources and the effects of our management on the resources. There are three branches in the division, working together to help our managers. They are Invasive Species, Inventory and Monitoring, and Wildlife Health.

Invasive Species »

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We promote, facilitate and build science-capacity for cost-effective invasive species management that is prioritized for trust resources and the biological integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System through collaboration and coordination with partners.

The threats and impacts of invasive species, also known as non-native or noxious species, to our lands are great. We work with our managers to limit further impact through prevention, early detection and rapid response, inventory and monitoring, treatment and restoration, and education.

Our branch also provides technical support, assistance, and coordination to National Wildlife Refuges, other Fish and Wildlife Service Programs, State and Federal Agencies, and the public to limit the effects of invasive species. Our primary focus is terrestrial invasive plants, but we also assist with other pests through integrated pest management.

We are involved in several aspects of invasive species management:

  • Design of invasive species inventory and monitoring projects at the Refuge, landscape, state, and national levels.
  • Facilitate habitat management planning efforts to help prioritize invasive species treatments by considering impacts to wildlife, habitat management objectives, and feasibility.
  • Strategize which resources to use for prevention, eradication, suppression, or containment with appropriate integrated weed management, based on site conditions and least environmental harm.
  • Assist with invasive species data management and conducts trainings.
  • Integrate adaptive management and habitat suitability models for evaluating threat and risk of invasive species.
  • Use invasive species strike teams to implement the early-detection rapid-response strategy.

Inventory and Monitoring »

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The Inventory and Monitoring Initiative addresses the National Wildlife Refuge System’s critical need to monitor the status and trends of fish, wildlife, and plant populations. We help plan and evaluate the effectiveness of conservation and management activities that advance fish and wildlife conservation. We coordinate with other conservation partners to monitor and address critical global and local natural resource issues such as impacts of climate change and other environmental changes. By doing so, we increase effectiveness and reduce costs. We support and/or provide guidance for on-the-ground management, such as:

  • Inventorying abiotic resources and physical features.
  • Creating and interpreting geospatial data.
  • Providing data management and analysis.
  • Providing baseline inventories of plants, animals and vegetation.
  • Establishing status and trends of priority fish and wildlife species.
  • Conducting comprehensive ecological assessments.
  • Assessing natural disturbance regimes.
  • Providing inventories and assessments of water resources.
  • Supporting adaptive management at multiple scales.
  • Assessing vulnerability to climate change.

Wildlife Health »

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The Wildlife Health Office conducts critical work in wildlife health and disease surveillance, response, and management to address the impacts of environmental changes on wildlife health. Our office addresses and supports the wildlife conservation, population monitoring, and management goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System by providing technical assistance in the field, training and outreach.

Our office, equipped with tools and skills, serves as a long-term, proactive resource for wildlife management in the Refuge System. Maintaining healthy animals and healthy populations through preventive actions is far more efficient and cost effective than reacting to diseases once they become a problem. Preventive actions require actively focusing on the roots of wildlife health problems, which are often human-caused, rather than applying remedies to the symptoms of the disease.

We support such activities such as:

  • Establishing wildlife health baselines.
  • Identifying existing and emerging wildlife health and disease risks.
  • Ensuring wildlife disease preparedness and prevention.
  • Developing, guiding, and implementing management actions.
  • Providing an early warning system for wildlife diseases which have the potential to impact humans, as well as poultry and livestock agri-business.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: July 26, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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