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 - Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Open / close all


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adaptive resource management
A process that uses feedback from research, monitoring, and evaluation of management actions to support or modify objectives and strategies for a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district. Analysis of results helps refuge and district managers determine whether current management should continue as is or whether it should be modified to achieve desired conditions.

Administration Act
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966.

alternative
A reasonable way to solve an identified problem or satisfy the stated need (40 Code of Federal Regulations 1500.2). One of several different means of accomplishing purposes and goals of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district, and contributing to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).

approved acquisition boundary
A project boundary that a regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves upon completion of the planning and environmental compliance process. An approved boundary for a national wildlife refuge designates only those lands that the Service has authority to acquire or manage. Approval of a refuge boundary does not grant the Service jurisdiction or control over lands within the boundary, and it does not make lands within the refuge boundary part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Lands do not become part of the Refuge System unless they are purchased or are placed under an agreement. Also see "refuge boundary."


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biological diversity, biodiversity
The variety of life and its processes including the variety of living organisms, the genetic differences among them, and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 052 FW 1.12B). The National Wildlife Refuge System’s focus is on indigenous species, biotic communities, and ecological processes.

biological integrity
Composition, structure, and function at the genetic, organism, and community levels that are consistent with natural conditions and the biological processes that shape communities, along with organisms and their genetic material.

This goose, designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling, is the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

blue goose
This blue goose was designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling and is the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System.


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CCP
See "comprehensive conservation plan."

CFR
Code of Federal Regulations.

CMP
See "comprehensive management plan" or "conceptual management plan."

compatibility determination
See "compatible use."

compatible use
Use of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district that, in the sound professional judgment of the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will not materially interfere with or detract from the fulfillment of the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System or the purposes of the refuge or district (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 603 FW 3.6). A compatibility determination supports the selection of compatible uses and identifies stipulations necessary to ensure compatibility.

comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
A document that describes the desired future conditions of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district. A CCP provides long-range guidance for the manager to accomplish the purposes of the refuge or district, contribute to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and to meet other mandates (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).

comprehensive management plan (CMP)
A management document for a national wildlife refuge that was done before Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, which requires the Service to prepare comprehensive conservation plans.

conceptual management plan (CMP)
A document that provides interim guidance for lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The CMP includes interim goals and existing, wildlife-dependent, recreational uses (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow until we have determined their compatibility. Generally, this interim period is the time between the expansion or establishment of a refuge and the completion of its comprehensive conservation plan. The Service finalizes management direction only after additional planning and public input.

conservation
The management of natural resources to prevent loss or waste; management may include preservation, recovery, restoration, and enhancement.

conservation easement
A legal document that provides specific land use rights to a secondary party. A perpetual conservation easement usually grants conservation and management rights to a party in perpetuity.

cooperative agreement
A simple habitat protection action in which no property rights are acquired. An agreement is usually long-term and can be modified by either party. Lands under a cooperative agreement do not necessarily become part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

cultural resource inventory
A professionally conducted study that is designed to locate and evaluate evidence of cultural resources present within a defined area. Inventories involve various levels including a background literature search, a comprehensive field examination to identify all exposed manifestations of cultural resources, or a sample inventory to estimate site distribution and density over a larger area. Evaluation of cultural resources to determine eligibility for the National Register follows the criteria found in 36 Code of Federal Regulations 60.4.

cultural resource overview
A comprehensive document that discusses and area's prehistory and cultural history, the nature and extent of known cultural resources, previous research, management objectives, resource management conflicts or issues, and a general statement on how program objectives should be met and conflicts resolved.

cultural resources
The remains of sites, structures, or objects used by people in the past.


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desktop publishing
The use of a desktop computer and specific types of software to produce documents such as books and brochures. Text and graphic elements are manipulated with separate software programs, and then combined with a page layout program that provides page design capabilities including columns, borders, page numbering, and precise typographic alignment. Although word processing programs offer many of these features, a desktop publishing program provides ultimate flexibility for production of quality printed documents or camera-ready output for commercial printing.

district
See "wetland management district."

district purpose
See "purpose of a refuge or district."

donation
A citizen or group may wish to give land or interests in land to the Service for the benefit of wildlife. Aside from the cost factor, these acquisitions are no different than any other means of land acquisition. Gifts and donations have the same planning requirements as purchases.


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EA
See "environmental assessment."

EIS
See "environmental impact statement."

ecoregion
An area defined by a combination of biological, social, and geographic criteria. A system of related, interconnected ecosystems.

ecosystem
A dynamic and interrelated complex of plant and animal communities and their associated nonliving environments.

endangered species, Federal
A plant or animal species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Populations of these species are at critically low levels or their habitats have been degraded or depleted to a significant degree.

endangered species, State
A plant or animal species in danger of becoming extinct in a particular State within the near future if factors contributing to its decline continue. Populations of these species are at critically low levels or their habitats have been degraded or depleted to a significant degree.

endemic species
A plant or animal species that occurs naturally in a certain area and whose distribution is relatively limited to a particular locality.

environmental assessment (EA)
A concise public document, prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, that briefly discusses the purpose and need for an action and alternatives to that action. An EA provides sufficient evidence and analysis of effects to determine whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or finding of no significant impact (40 Code of Federal Regulations 1508.9).

environmental health
The composition, structure, and functioning of soil, water, air, and other nonliving features comparable with historical conditions, including the natural processes that shape the environment.

environmental impact statement (EIS)
A detailed public document, prepared in complicance with the National Environmental Policy Act, that analyzes the environmental impacts of a proposed action, adverse effects of the project that cannot be avoided, alternative courses of action, short-term uses of the environment versus the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources.

ESA
Endangered Species Act.

extinction
The complete disappearance of a species from the earth.

extirpation
The extinction of a population. The complete eradication of a species within a specified area.


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Federal trust resource and species
Resources and species where the Federal Government has primary jurisdiction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service holds in trust many natural resources for the people of the United States as a result of Federal acts and treaties. Examples are species listed under the Endangered Species Act, migratory birds protected by international treaties, and native plant or wildlife species found on a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district.

fee title
The acquisition of rights to a tract of land. While a fee-title acquisition involves most rights to a property, certain rights may be reserved or not purchased including water rights, mineral rights, or use reservation (the ability to continue using the land for a specified time period or the remainder of the owner's life).

finding of no significant impact (FONSI)
A document, prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, that is supported by an environmental assessment and briefly presents why a Federal action will have no significant effect on the human environment and for which an environmental impact statement does not need to be prepared.

FONSI
See "finding of no significant impact."

fragmentation
The alteration of a large block of habitat that creates isolated patches of the original habitat that are interspersed with a variety of other habitats The process of reducing the size and connectivity of habitat patches, making movement of individuals or genetic information between patches difficult or impossible.

Friends group
Any formal organization whose mission is to support the goals and purposes of its associated refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge Association overall. Includes friends organizations and cooperative and interpretive associations.

FWS
See "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."


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Geographic Information System (GIS)
A computer system capable of storing and manipulating spatial data. A set of computer hardware and software for analysis and display of spatially referenced features (such as points, lines and polygons) with nongeographic attributes such as species and age.

GIS
See "Geographic Information System."

goal
Descriptive, open-ended, and often broad statement of desired future conditions that conveys a purpose but does not define measurable units (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 620 FW 1.5).

grassland tract
An area of grassland that is not fragmented.


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habitat
The place where an organism typically lives and grows. A suite of existing environmental conditions required by an organism for survival and reproduction.

HAPET
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team.

HMP
Habitat management plan.


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Improvement Act
See "National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997."

indigenous
Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place.

integrated pest management (IPM)
Methods of managing undesirable species such as invasive plants: education, prevention, physical or mechanical methods of control, biological control, responsible chemical use, and cultural methods.

introduced species
A species present in an area due to escape, release, dissemination, or placement into an ecosystem as a result of human activity. Also see "invasive plant" and "noxious weed."

invasive plant
A species that is nonnative to an ecosystem and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Also see "introduced species" and "noxious weed."

IPM
See "integrated pest management."

issue
Any unsettled matter that requires a management decision; for example, a Federal initiative, an opportunity, a resource management problem, a threat to resources, a conflict in uses, a public concern, or the presence of an undesirable resource condition (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).


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land protection plan (LPP)
A document that identifies and prioritizes lands for potential acquisition from willing sellers, and also describes other methods of providing protection.

landscape conservation cooperative (LCC)
A partnership between the Service, U.S. Geological Survey and other Federal agencies, States, tribes, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and other interested parties. An LCC applies conservation science at a landscape scale to help managers respond to accelerated climate change. An LCC provides natural resource managers with state-of-the-art information to determine effective conservation actions.

LCC
See "landscape conservation cooperative."

lease
A short-term (usually 5- to 10-year) agreement for full or specified use in return for a rental payment (usually annual) and generally includes occupancy rights. The rights revert back to the owner at the termination of the lease. A lease is useful when the objectives are short term or the owners are unable to provide other forms of land transfer. The property remains on the tax rolls during the term of the lease.

limited-interest refuge landowner
A person who owns property that is covered by a national wildlife refuge or flowage easement, or both, that is located within the approved acquisition boundary of a limited-interest national wildlife refuge.

LPP
See "land protection plan."


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management alternative
See "alternative."

migration
The periodic passage from one region or climate to another for feeding or breeding; for example, the regular extensive, seasonal movements of birds between their breeding grounds and their wintering grounds.

migratory birds
Birds that follow a seasonal movement from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds are migratory birds.

mission
A succinct statement of purpose or reason for being.

mitigation
A measure designed to counteract an undesirable environmental effect or to make an effect less severe.

MOA
Memorandum of agreement.

monitoring
The process of collecting information to track changes of selected measurable factors over time.

MOU
Memorandum of understanding.


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national wildlife refuge (refuge, NWR)
A designated area of land, water, or an interest in land or water within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System)
Various categories of areas administered by the Secretary of the Interior for the conservation of fish and wildlife. The Refuge System includes areas administered by the Secretary as national wildlife refuges, areas for the protection and conservation of fish and wildlife that are threatened with extinction, wildlife ranges, game ranges, wildlife management areas, and waterfowl production areas.

National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act)
The Improvement Act sets the mission and the administrative policy for all lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System: (1) defines a unifying mission for the Refuge System; (2) establishes the legitimacy and appropriateness of the six wildlife-dependent recreational uses (priority public uses)—hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation); (3) establishes a process for determining appropriateness and compatibility; (4) establishes the responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior for managing and protecting the Refuge System; and (5) requires a comprehensive conservation plan for each refuge by the year 2012.

native species
A species that, other than as a result of an introduction, historically occurred or currently occurs in that ecosystem.

NEPA
National Environmental Policy Act.

NOA
Notice of availability.

NOI
Notice of intent.

nongovernmental organization
Any group that is not comprised of Federal, State, tribal, county, city, town, local, or other governmental entities.

noxious weed
Any living stage (including seeds and reproductive parts) of a parasitic or other plant that is of foreign origin (new to or not widely prevalent in the United States) and can injure crops and other useful plants, livestock, poultry, and other interests of agriculture including irrigation, navigation, fish and wildlife resources, or public health. According to the Federal Noxious Weed Act (Public Law 93-639), a noxious weed is one that causes disease or has adverse effects on humans or the human environment and, therefore, is detrimental to the agriculture and commerce of the United States and to public health. Also see "introduced plant and invasive plant."

NWR See "national wildlife refuge."


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objective
An objective is a concise target statement of what will be achieved, how much will be achieved, when and where it will be achieved, and who is responsible for the work. Derived from goals and provides the basis for determining management strategies. Objectives should be attainable and time-specific and should be stated quantitatively to the extent possible. If objectives cannot be stated quantitatively, they may be stated qualitatively (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).

overlay national wildlife refuge
Lands and waters that are under the primary jurisdiction of one Federal agency, where the purpose of the refuge is superimposed as a secondary interest in the property. Primary administration is retained by the host agency and wildlife management must be compatible with those uses for which the primary agency acquired the land.


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partner
An individual, organization, or other entity that interacts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to achieve a common goal in support of the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

planning team
A planning team prepares a comprehensive conservation plan or a land protection plan. Planning teams are interdisciplinary in membership and function. A team generally consists of a planning team leader, a refuge manager, a staff biologist, and other staff specialists, as well as State and tribal representatives.

PPR
Prairie Pothole Region.

preferred alternative
The agency's preferred alternative is the alternative that the responsible Federal official believes would fulfill the agency's statutory mission and responsibilities, giving consideration to economic, environmental, technical and other factors. After completion of an environmental analysis, the responsible official identifies the preferred alternative in a "finding of no significant impact." During development of an environmental impact statement (EIS), the agency's preferred alternative is generally identified in the draft EIS, as well as in the final EIS.

prescribed fire
The skillful application of fire to natural fuels under conditions such as weather, fuel moisture, and soil moisture that allow confinement of the fire to a predetermined area. A fire prescription specifies the intensity of heat and rate of spread to accomplish one or more objectives of habitat management, wildlife management, or hazard reduction.

priority public use
One of six uses authorized by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 to have priority if found to be compatible with the purposes of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district. Each of the six uses are wildlife-dependent, recreational uses—hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

proposed action
The alternative that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to best achieve the purpose, vision, and goals of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district, because it contributes to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, addresses the significant issues, and is consistent with principles of sound fish and wildlife management.

public
Individuals, organizations, and groups; officials of Federal, State, and local government agencies; Indian tribes; foreign nations; and anyone outside the core planning team. Includes those who may or may not have indicated an interest in issues of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and those who do or do not realize that Service decisions may affect them.

public involvement
A process that offers affected and interested individuals and organizations an opportunity to become informed about, and to express their opinions on, actions and policies of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the process, the Service thoroughly studies and thoughtfully considers these public views while shaping decisions for management of lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

purpose of a refuge or district
The purpose of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district is specified in or derived from the law, proclamation, executive order, agreement, public land order, donation document, or administrative memorandum that establishes the authorization or expansion of a refuge, a refuge unit or subunit, or district (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).


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Reclamation
Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

refuge
See "national wildlife refuge."

refuge boundary
The boundary for a national wildlife refuge designates only those lands that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has acquired and is managing as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Also see "approved acquisition boundary."

refuge purpose
See "purpose of a refuge or district."

Refuge System
See "National Wildlife Refuge System."

refuge use
Any activity on a refuge, except administrative or law enforcement activity, carried out by or under the direction of an authorized employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

resident species
A species that lives in a given area throughout the year. A nonmigratory species.

restoration
One or more actions that lead to the reestablishment of original or native conditions.

RONS
Refuge Operations Needs System.


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SAMMS
See "Service Asset Maintenance Management System."

scoping
The process of obtaining information from the public for input into the planning process for actions and decisions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Service
See "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Service Asset Maintenance Management System (SAMMS)
A national database of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that contains the unfunded maintenance needs of each national wildlife refuge and wetland management district. Projects include those required to maintain existing equipment and buildings, correct safety deficiencies to carry out approved plans, and meet goals, objectives, and legal mandates.

SHC
See "strategic habitat conservation."

spatial
Relating to, occupying, or having the character of space.

special status species
A plant or animal that has been identified through Federal law, State law, or agency policy as requiring special protection or monitoring. Examples include federally listed endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species; State-listed endangered, threatened, candidate, or monitor species; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species of management concern; and species identified by the Partners in Flight Program as being of extreme or moderately high conservation concern.

special use permit
A permit for special authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is required for any service, facility, privilege, or product of the soil provided at the expense of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district and is not usually available to the public through authorizations in Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations or other public regulations (Refuge Manual, 5 RM 17.6).

species of concern
A plant or animal species, while not falling under the definition of special status species, that is of management interest by virtue of being a Federal trust species such as a migratory bird, and important game species. A species that has documented or apparent population declines, small or restricted populations, or dependence on restricted or vulnerable habitats.

step-down management plan
A plan that provides the details necessary to carry out management strategies identified in a comprehensive conservation plan (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).

strategic habitat conservation
The brand name the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses for landscape-scale conservation of habitats.

strategy
A specific action, tool, or technique used to meet objectives (The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, 602 FW 1.5).

SWAP
Small Wetlands Acquisition Program.


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threatened species, Federal
A plant or animal species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

threatened species, State
A plant or animal species likely to become endangered in a particular State within the near future if factors contributing to population decline or habitat degradation or loss continue.

travel corridor
A landscape feature for the transport of animals between larger patches of habitat. These corridors may facilitate several kinds of traffic including foraging movement, seasonal migration, or dispersal of juvenile animals. These are transition habitats and need not contain all the habitat elements required for long-term survival or reproduction of its migrants.

trust resource
See "Federal trust resource and species."

trust species
See "Federal trust resource and species."


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USACE
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

U.S.C.
United States Code.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, FWS, USFWS)
Under the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats. The Service manages the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is comprised of more than 550 national wildlife refuges and thousands of waterfowl production areas. The Service also operates national fish hatcheries and ecological service field stations, enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores national significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. The Service oversees the Federal aid program that distributes millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State wildlife agencies.

USFWS
See "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A Federal agency in the Department of the Interior with a mission to provide reliable scientific information. The USGS uses this information to describe and understand the earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

USGS See "U.S. Geological Survey."


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vision statement
A concise statement of the desired future condition of a specific area such as a national wildlife refuge, based primarily on the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, specific refuge purposes, and other relevant mandates.


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waterfowl production area (WPA)
Land in the National Wildlife Refuge System that is protected through purchase or easement under the Small Wetland Acquisition Program. Congress created Small Wetland Acquisition Program in 1958 by amending the 1934 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act (the Duck Stamp Act) to allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use money from the sale of Federal duck stamps to protect waterfowl habitat. A waterfowl production area is generally a wetland and the surrounding uplands and is typically within agricultural land. These areas provide breeding, resting, and nesting habitat for not only waterfowl but also shorebirds, grassland birds, and other wildlife.

watershed
The geographic area that drains water into a river, a river system, or other body of water.

wetland management district (district, WMD)
An administrative organization that manages all the waterfowl production areas in a multi-county area.

wildlife-dependent recreational use
Use of a national wildlife refuge or wetland management district that involves hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, or interpretation. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 specifies that these are the six priority public uses of the Refuge System.

wildlife management area
A unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System where the primary means to protect wildlife and their habitat is achieved tghrough the acquisition of conservation easements.

WMD
See "wetland management district."

WPA
See "waterfowl production area."


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Page photograph: planning team meeting.

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: January 24, 2017
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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