Refuge Planning
Northeast Region
Step-down Plans

What are Step-Down Management Plans?

Step-down management plans describe strategies and implementation schedules for meeting CCP goals and objectives and provide specific guidance on management subjects or groups of related subjects, for example, habitat, fire, public use, or safety. We will prepare step-down management plans whenever policy requires them or they are necessary to provide strategies and implementation schedules for meeting goals and objectives identified in comprehensive conservation plans (CCPs). Step-down management plans should include public involvement and document National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, as appropriate.

What is the applicability of step-down management planning and its relationship to Comprehensive Conservation Plans?

  1. Step-down management planning is the formulation of detailed plans for meeting goals and objectives identified in the CCP.

  2. Step-down management plans describe the specific strategies and implementation schedules we are to follow, "stepping down" from general goals and objectives. The preparation of new step-down management plans or substantial changes in existing step-down management plans typically will require further compliance with NEPA and other policies and an opportunity for public review. For public use plans or other step-down management plans dealing with proposed uses of the refuge, prepare and append compatibility determinations to the plans.

  3. The CCP will identify which step-down management plans are necessary and provide a schedule for their completion. After completion of the CCP, modify existing step-down management plans as needed to accomplish stated objectives. See CCP Process. In the absence of an approved CCP, we will develop step-down management plans to describe goals, objectives, strategies, implementation schedules, and details necessary to implement a management program.

  4. As an alternative to separate step-down management plans, we may address management programs in detail during the preparation of the CCP. Determining which programs we can address in detail in the CCP depends on several factors, including the degree of public interest, the amount of information available, and the complexity of the issues.

If you would like further information please see the Step-Down Management Planning website.

If you would like to view step-down plans for a particular refuge, please contact that refuge directly. You can view a list of all refuges by state at this website:

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Last updated: November 2, 2016