What We Do

The National Wildlife Refuge System is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 identified wildlife viewing and photography, hunting, fishing, education and interpretation as priority public uses on refuges. This means they are primary focuses in planning and management efforts. 

Our Programs

A bison grazing in the foreground with mountains and a city and electrical infrastructure in the background
The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program improves lives by expanding access to green space, education and outdoor recreation for Americans living in and around cities. Program members work to clear social and historical barriers and foster new connections that advance conservation and strengthen...
Friends of the Refuge Headwaters holding tree tubes outside.
A Friends partnership is made up of a nonprofit Friends organization and a national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery. All refuge Friends organizations share the same primary mission: the support of a national wildlife refuge, a complex of refuges or a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife...
A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

Our Services

Our Laws and Regulations

An aerial view of pelican island.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act provides authority, guidelines and directives for the Service to improve the National Wildlife Refuge System; administers a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of fish, wildlife and plant...

The National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act authorizes cooperative agreements with nonprofit partner organizations, academic institutions, or State and local governments to construct, operate, maintain, or improve refuge facilities and services, and to promote volunteer, outreach, and...