FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
SUBJECT: Executive Order 12996 - Management and General Public Use
National Wildlife Refuge System
A. MISSION: The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to preserve a national network of lands and waters for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife and plant resources of the United States for the benefit of present and future generations.
B. GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
1. Public Use. The Refuge System provides important opportunities for compatible wildlife- dependent recreational activities involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation.
2. Habitat. Fish and wildlife will not prosper without high-quality
habitat, and without fish and wildlife, traditional uses of refuges cannot
be sustained. The Refuge System will continue
to conserve and enhance the quality and diversity of fish and wildlife habitat within refuges.
3. Partnerships. America's sportsmen and women were the first partners who insisted on protecting valuable wildlife habitat within wildlife refuges. Conservation partnerships with other Federal agencies, State agencies, Tribes, organizations, industry, and the general public can make significant contributions to the growth and management of the Refuge System.
4. Public Involvement. The public should be given a full and open opportunity to participate in decisions regarding acquisition and management of our National Wildlife Refuges.
C. IMPLEMENTATION: The Executive Order provides ten directives to the Secretary of the Interior in carrying out his trustee and stewardship responsibilities for the Refuge System.
D. INCORPORATION: In order to assure that the provisions of the
Executive Order (Appendix) are known throughout the Service, it is hereby
incorporated in the National Policy
Issuance system. The Executive Order was signed by the President on March 25, 1996.
Date: December 30, 1996
Deputy Director - Staff