110 FW 1
Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Policy

Supersedes Director’s Order 208, 09/25/13

Date:  October 7, 2015

Series: Public Involvement

Part 110: Urban Programs

Originating Office: Division of Visitor Services and Communication

 

 

PDF Version

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

General Topics

Abbreviated Sections/Questions

Overview of the  Policy

1.1  What is the purpose of this chapter?

1.2  What is the scope of this chapter?

1.3  What are the authorities for this chapter?

1.4  Why does the Service have an Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

1.5  What are the goals of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

1.6  What is the Service policy on the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

1.7  What are the components of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

1.8  What are Service employees’ responsibilities for implementing this policy?

Designation

1.9  What is the designation process for an Urban Wildlife Refuge?

1.10  What is the designation process for Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships?

1.11  What is the designation process for Urban Bird Treaty cities?

Implementation

1.12  What are the Standards of Excellence for Urban Wildlife Refuges?

1.13  How can Urban Wildlife Refuges implement the Standards of Excellence and advance the goals of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

1.14  How can Urban Partnerships ensure compliance with the program goals and help us to attain the Standards of Excellence?

1.15  How do Urban Wildlife Refuges apply the appropriate use policy (603 FW 1) in comparison with other refuges?

1.16  How does the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program involve youth?

Evaluation

1.17 How must the Service evaluate and adapt the practices of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

 

OVERVIEW OF THE POLICY

 

1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter:

 

A. Establishes an Urban Wildlife Conservation Program to encourage all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees to engage urban communities in fish and wildlife conservation and to encourage Service staff to help address urban wildlife and habitat restoration and conservation needs;

 

B. Describes the designation process for Urban Wildlife Refuges and Urban Partnerships, including the designation of Urban Bird Treaty cities; and

 

C. Describes the Standards of Excellence for designated National Wildlife Refuges located in urban areas (i.e., Urban Wildlife Refuges). While principally designed for use by National Wildlife Refuges, the Standards of Excellence may be useful for the Service’s other urban activities.

 

1.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all Service programs—not just the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).

 

1.3 What are the authorities for this chapter?

 

A. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661).

 

B. National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee).

 

C. National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 742f).

 

D. Partnerships for Wildlife Act (16 U.S.C. 3741).

 

E. Refuge Recreation Act of 1962, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4).

 

F. Youth Conservation Corps Act (16 U.S.C. 1701-1706).

 

G. National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-360).

 

H. Secretarial Order No. 3332, Engaging the Next Generation; March 20, 2014.

 

1.4 Why does the Service have an Urban Wildlife Conservation Program? The Service has an Urban Wildlife Conservation Program to engage and inspire people who live in urban areas to become part of a conservation constituency, so that together we can leave a legacy of abundant and healthy wildlife and

wild lands for future generations of Americans to enjoy. Helping adults and children who live in our urban areas develop a love for the land is a 21st century challenge for the Service.

 

A. Since most Americans now live in urban settings, that is where we have an opportunity and a responsibility to advance public understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of the functions of ecosystems and the benefits of their management for fish, wildlife, and people (also see 131 FW 1, Environmental Education – Policy and Responsibilities).

 

B. Urban areas present a strategic opportunity for us to reach new audiences and broaden our conservation constituency. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program helps us provide places and opportunities to engage these diverse urban audiences with fish and wildlife conservation activities.

 

1.5 What are the goals of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program? The ultimate goals of the program are to conserve wildlife for the continuing benefit of the American people and create a connected conservation constituency. The supporting goals to achieve this include:

 

A. Ensuring that people who are engaged in wildlife conservation reflect the demographics of America;

 

B. Encouraging a better understanding by urban residents of the importance of protecting and conserving habitat for wildlife by connecting them in ways that are relevant to their lives;

 

C. Involving urban communities through environmental education and nature-based experiences that move participants up a spectrum of engagement from nature awareness and comfort to conservation action;

 

D. Embracing traditional and new collaborations with the urban community to develop meaningful, lifelong connections to wildlife; and

 

E. Becoming a community asset, collaboratively working to help strengthen the urban community as a whole.

 

1.6 What is the Service policy on the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program? All Service programs must contribute to a coordinated national effort to:

 

A. Work to expand their outreach, information, education, and strategic communication activities to raise awareness of the relevancy of conservation in urban areas and in peoples’ lives;

 

B. Create more opportunities for people in urban areas to engage in fish and wildlife conservation and restoration, either by interacting directly with urban residents (e.g., on an Urban Wildlife Refuge, at area public schools) or by developing partnerships with organizations that are already involved with urban communities; and

 

C. Establish methods for evaluating intended outcomes and modify practices to ensure success.

 

1.7 What are the components of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program? Our Urban Wildlife Conservation Program includes several types of urban engagement strategies that are flexible and adaptive so that we can reach as many people as possible. There are two main elements of the ProgramUrban Wildlife Refuges and Urban Partnerships (also see Figure 1-1).

 

Figure 1-1

Organization of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

 

 

A. Urban Wildlife Refuges Urban Wildlife Refuges offer an existing opportunity to involve a diverse urban audience in fish and wildlife conservation because they involve land the Service already owns and manages. These are units of the NWRS that:

 

(1) Have within 25 miles of their boundaries a population of at least 250,000 people. This data is maintained by the NWRS Headquarters office;

 

(2) Have the opportunity to engage urban audiences with fish and wildlife conservation and achieve the Standards of Excellence (see section 1.12) by providing experiences that are compatible with the refuge’s existing wildlife conservation purposes (the legislative history or establishment documents for the refuge may describe this educational and outreach potential); and

 

(3) The Director designates as "Urban Wildlife Refuges" because they have the additional goal of “fostering environmental awareness through urban outreach programs and activities that develop an informed and involved populace that supports fish and wildlife conservation” (see section 1.9).

 

B. Urban Partnerships – Service programs should work together and with our partners (e.g., non-governmental organizations (NGO); local municipalities; the private sector; and other State, tribal, and Federal agencies) to engage people in fish and wildlife conservation and to build understanding of the Service mission. Existing Service partnerships, such as the schoolyard habitat collaborations, and new partnerships can creatively engage people in fish and wildlife conservation. You can find examples of these partnerships on the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Web site. To complement our efforts in urban locations, we have developed long-term special partnership designations for partner-owned lands to highlight and celebrate the importance of these urban areas in creating a connected conservation constituency. The following are types of Urban Partnerships:

 

(1) Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships long-term, place-based partnerships that engage urban communities in conservation issues on lands that the Service does not own or govern. These designations are on lands that others (e.g., non-profits, NGOs, local municipalities) own or manage. These partner-owned lands should be within urban communities to help engage residents in place-based, outdoor experiences that foster connections with fish and wildlife and their habitats. Any Service office may develop an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership.

 

(2) Urban Bird Treaties cooperative arrangements between the Service and city governments and their partners. These agreements allow us to work together to enhance urban habitats and reduce hazards for birds and other wildlife, and to educate citizens to create an environmentally aware citizenry dedicated to conserving and enhancing natural resources in and beyond their urban area.

 

(3) Other Partnership Programs we have flexibility to develop other partnerships and conduct technical support activities in urban areas. These partnerships may be approved at the appropriate Regional or program level (e.g., by the supervising Directorate member or other appropriate manager).

 

1.8 What are Service employees’ responsibilities for implementing this policy? See Table 1-1.

 

Table 1-1: Responsibilities for the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. Director

(1) Designating Urban Wildlife Refuges;

 

(2) Approving proposals for Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships, Urban Bird Treaty cities, and other Urban Partnerships that warrant national approval;

 

(3) Setting overall leadership and direction for the Service’s communication and outreach efforts in urban areas;

 

(4) Designating Service leaders to a Directorate Oversight Team to oversee and evaluate the program; and

 

(5) Appointing one Regional Director to assist the Chief NWRS in leading this team.

B. Chief NWRS

(1) Providing technical and management support staff for the program,

 

(2) Maintaining a list of Urban Partnerships and Urban Wildlife Refuges, and

 

(3) Co-leading the Directorate Oversight Team with a Regional Director that the Director appoints.

C. Directorate members in the Regions and Headquarters

(1) Nominating units of the NWRS that the Director may designate as Urban Wildlife Refuges according to section 1.7(A);

 

 (2) Supporting Service staff efforts to implement this policy;

 

(3) Ensuring staff document partnerships through memorandums of understanding, cooperative agreements, grant agreements, or other appropriate documents;

 

(4) Providing signage for designated Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership sites;

 

  (5) Providing technical staff and expertise to help:

 

(a)   Partner organizations address complex fish and wildlife habitat management issues, and

(b)   Urban populations increase their enjoyment and understanding of fish and wildlife through recreation, education, and outreach activities;

 

(6) Tracking youth involvement in the program; and

 

  (7) Ensuring that Urban Partnerships are approved at the appropriate Regional or program level.

D. Chief, Division of Visitor Services & Communications

(1) Providing staff support to NWRS leadership to help implement this policy;

 

(2) Compiling information and preparing a summary of Servicewide program participation, including successful and unsuccessful strategies, to submit to the Directorate at least once every 5 years;

 

  (3) Ensuring partnership sites/projects are appropriately designated;

 

  (4) Providing support to Urban Wildlife Refuges and other Urban Partnerships to help them implement the Standards of Excellence; and

 

 (5) Reviewing and updating the Standards of Excellence at least every 5 years.

E. Project Leaders and Assistant Regional Directors

(1) Creating play, learn, serve, and work opportunities for youth in the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program;

 

(2) Implementing the Urban Wildlife Refuge Standards of Excellence, as appropriate; and

 

  (3) Developing partnerships with outside organizations to implement this program in urban areas.

 

DESIGNATION

 

1.9 What is the designation process for an Urban Wildlife Refuge?

 

A. Regional Directors may nominate National Wildlife Refuges in their Regions for the Director to designate as Urban Wildlife Refuges if they determine that the refuges fit the definition in section 1.7A, and they have a feasible plan for achieving the Standards of Excellence.

 

B. The Director may designate a nominated refuge as an Urban Wildlife Refuge if he/she determines that the refuge fits the definition, and that it can effectively adopt the additional goal of fostering environmental awareness through urban outreach programs and activities that develop an informed and involved populace that supports fish and wildlife conservation.

 

1.10 What is the designation process for Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships and other Urban Partnerships?

 

A. The Director may designate an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership or other Urban Partnership with a State, tribal, county, or municipal government or with a non-profit organization when he/she receives a nomination packet from a Regional or Headquarters Directorate member, and if he/she determines the partnership meets all of the following criteria:

 

(1) The partnership effort will be “visible” and targeted to reach urban populations, connect urban residents with nature, and enhance awareness of the Service’s role/mission. The Service will work with key partners in the community who can influence and help set the stage for developing a conservation constituency.

 

(2) Existing partnership opportunities and matching resources are available. Service participation is value-added and will support a conservation effort with wildlife benefits.

 

(3) The partnership will be sustainable in the long term, both by the Service and partners. The Service can act as a catalyst for change and nurture long-term stability and support.

 

(4) The partnership will support Service priorities, such as the NWRS Conserving the Future recommendations.

 

B. The Directorate member who nominated an Urban Partnership for designation may repeal it.

 

C. Lead Region/program staff must document the designation in a memorandum of understanding or other agreement with the partner that memorializes the relationship. This agreement may also establish rules regarding the partnership’s use of official Service graphics, among other things.

 

1.11 What is the designation process for Urban Bird Treaty Program cities? The Director may designate Urban Bird Treaty cities to recognize and support work with partners who have the mutual goal of conserving migratory birds through education, hazard reduction, citizen science, conservation actions, and conservation and habitat improvement strategies. Our Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds guidance provides information on criteria and designation.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

1.12 What are the Standards of Excellence for Urban Wildlife Refuges?

 

A. Urban Wildlife Refuges must strive to achieve the eight Standards of Excellence that serve as a framework for establishing an effective connection between the Service and urban communities and ensure we are accomplishing the goals of the program. Other refuges, Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships, and Urban Conservation Partnerships may also find these Standards of Excellence useful as they develop ways to coordinate urban outreach efforts and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. The eight Standards of Excellence are:

 

(1) Know and relate to the community.

 

(2) Connect urban people with nature via stepping stones of engagement.

 

(3) Build partnerships.

 

(4) Be a community asset.

 

(5) Ensure adequate long-term resources.

 

(6) Provide equitable access.

 

(7) Ensure visitors feel safe and welcome.

 

(8) Model sustainability.

 

B. To keep the Standards of Excellence relevant, the Chief, Division of Visitor Services & Communications, NWRS, must review and update them as needed at least every 5 years.

 

1.13 How can Urban Wildlife Refuges implement the Standards of Excellence and advance the goals of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

 

A. Urban Wildlife Refuges must evaluate their programs and facilities in comparison with the Standards of Excellence as soon as possible after this policy is published. Project Leaders (i.e., Refuge Managers) should then prioritize feasible actions they can take to meet the standards.

 

B. This policy incorporates the Standards of Excellence as a part of any operational or visitor services program review of Urban Wildlife Refuges.

 

1.14 How can Urban Partnerships ensure compliance with the program goals and work to attain the Standards of Excellence? During the designation process of a new Urban Partnership, the participating Service office or field station should work with the partner organization(s) to establish Service staff responsibilities that will help the partnership achieve the Standards of Excellence and effectively engage the local community. They should include these responsibilities in the memorandum of understanding or other agreement for the partnership.

 

1.15 How do Urban Wildlife Refuges apply the appropriate use policy (603 FW 1) in comparison with other refuges? Refuge Managers on Urban Wildlife Refuges should be flexible when evaluating Urban Wildlife Conservation Program activity compliance with the appropriate use policy (603 FW 1). Non-traditional activities that can help new audiences become familiar and comfortable with fish, wildlife, and their habitats may be considered appropriate uses on an Urban Wildlife Refuge.

 

1.16 How does the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program involve youth? Engaging the next generation is essential to the Department’s mission to protect America’s natural resources and heritage, honor our cultural and tribal communities, and supply the energy to power our future (see Secretarial  Order No. 3332). We seek to engage youth by developing opportunities for them in the following areas:

 

A. Play: A substantial portion of programming must include activities geared towards youth recreation, such as programs that build outdoor recreation skills (e.g., young birders programs, youth fishing and hunting programs) or natural play areas that involve unstructured play for youth using natural materials. Incorporating current technology and social media into outdoor-based activities is an effective means of engaging youth.

 

B. Learn: We should connect with urban public schools and youth organizations as much as possible. Service programs should build relationships with schools to attract school children to the refuges and partnership lands.

 

C. Serve: Program participants should develop ways to attract youth volunteers to help maintain Urban Wildlife Refuge and partnership lands and to help educate members of their community. We should involve youth in citizen science initiatives and connect with established youth volunteer organizations to further engage youth in the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.

 

D. Work: Program participants should develop employment and training opportunities for young people in support of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program. The Youth Conservation Corps is one example of an employment program that can help young people gain conservation work experience.

 

EVALUATION

 

1.17 How must the Service evaluate and adapt the practices of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program?

 

A. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program requires that we continually evaluate our achievement of its objectives and modify practices to ensure success. To do this:

 

(1) The Chief, Division of Visitor Services & Communications must conduct a review of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program every 5 years to identify successful and unsuccessful strategies. This review process may include periodic requests for updates from Urban Wildlife Refuge staff and from the Service offices involved in Urban Partnerships.

 

(2) Urban Wildlife Refuges (and other offices, as appropriate) must analyze the people they are reaching and conduct approved visitor use surveys to monitor changes and track audience engagement.

 

(3) Every 5 years, Urban Wildlife Refuges must undergo an expanded visitor services review.

 

B. The Directorate Oversight Team, led by the Chief - NWRS and a Regional Director appointed by the Director, oversees the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program. The team may establish additional metrics for evaluating progress and measuring success.

 

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Division of Visitor Services and Communication. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs.

 

 

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