United States Department of the Interior 

                                      FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE   
                                               Washington, D.C. 20240

Effective: October 29, 1996
Expires: Indefinite

SUBJECT: The National Wildlife Refuge System - Promises for a New Century

A. POLICY: The vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System is presented as Promises for a New Century (Appendix.) As the end of the first century of the Refuge System approaches, the vision makes promises for the future, identifies challenges to the Refuge System, and commits to actions that will meet the challenges in order to fulfill the promises.

B. 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.


1. Our Wildlife Promises:

The Refuge System will restore, protect and manage the abundance and diversity of animals representing our wildlife heritage and become the preeminent land management system for the conservation and recovery of endangered species.

We will be leaders in applying the best science and technology to manage fish and wildlife.

2. Our Habitat Promises:

The Refuge System will provide the quantity and quality of habitat that supports America's diverse wildlife heritage, and serve as the cornerstone of an ecosystem approach to resource conservation that considers landscapes beyond boundaries and focuses on environmental health and biological integrity.

We will be national and international leaders in the art and science of habitat management and Wilderness preservation.

Units of the Refuge System will serve as demonstration areas for private land wildlife conservation and models for sound land ethics and use.

3. Our People Promises:

Priority visitor uses of refuges will be wildlife-dependent and compatible in the truest sense of "wildlife first".

Refuges will be national treasures for wildlife and its enjoyment - places where visitors and local communities take pride in their stewardship.

Refuges will be safe and accessible. Visitors will feel welcome, and will easily know where to go, and how to use and enjoy each refuge.

D. IMPLEMENTATION: The Service is committed to actions in the following areas. More detail is presented in the Appendix.

1.  Wildlife First

2.  A Biologist on Every Refuge

3.  Refuge Health

4.  Reaching Out

5.  System Identity

6.  Partnerships

7.  Planning

8.  Accomplishments and Needs

9.  System Growth

10. Embracing Technology

11. System Vitality

E. INCORPORATION: This issuance incorporates the vision of the National Wildlife
Refuge System - Promises for a New Century - into the National Policy Issuance system. This vision was adopted by the Acting Director's memorandum to all employees of October 29, 1996.

Date: 31 Dec 96                                                                    Bruce Blanchard
                                                                                             Deputy Director - Staff

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