Working with partners.....  a part of our mission. 

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society (CWRS) is a non-profit membership based Friends group that supports refuge programs in a variety of ways.  The strongest partnership to the refuge, CWRS enlists and trains volunteers to support staff in every area of refuge management, with the exception of law enforcement.  CWRS employs a number of specialists to recruit and train volunteers, organize events, assist in research, lead visitor programs and assist with maintenance activities.  Thousands of hours are contributed to the refuge each year through CWRS.


The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is a state-partnering agency with the Service.  It is charged with enforcement responsibilities for migratory birds and endangered species and state trust species, as well as managing the state’s natural resources.  It also manages approximately 1.8 million acres of game lands in North Carolina.  The Commission coordinates the state’s wildlife conservation program and provides public recreation opportunities, including an extensive hunting and fishing program, on several game lands and from several boat ramps located near Alligator River NWR.  The Service and the Commission manage hunting on National Wildlife Refuge lands on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula through a joint venture.


The Nature Conservancy and Alligator River NWR are working together on a hydrology restoration and climate change adaptation project on the eastern boundary of the refuge.  This project is focused on putting infrastructure in place to allow the refuge to more closely mimic natural hydrology in that area which is help to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires and slow salt water intrusion.  Water control structures and oyster reefs are being put in place and salt tolerant tree species are being planted as part of the project.


Dare County Bombing Range (Range) is surrounded by the Alligator River NWR.  The Range is the primary training range for F-15E aircraft crews from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the primary backyard range for F/A-18 squadrons operating out of Naval Air Station Oceana. The Range is an electronic combat, day-night, and air-to-ground training site critical to both installations and Army and Navy special operations teams (including SEALs). Together, the Air Force and Navy are working to protect land near and under special use airspace, military training routes, and bombing run flight tracks near this important range.


The Nature Conservancy is working with the Department of Defense to purchase easements in order to prevent incompatible uses such as wind energy development in areas near the range identified by Range and air installation compatible use zone studies. The protected land includes forested wetlands, which are important for numerous species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, red wolf, and area-sensitive songbirds. Keeping the Range isolated and in its natural state ensures that special operations teams can continue their weapons training and Joint Tactical Air Control exercises.


Fighting wildfires on the coastal plain is intense and expensive work, particularly in the nearly impenetrable Pocosin wetlands found on the A-P Peninsula.  Organic soils that occur in most of Alligator River NWR become highly flammable when dry.  Several catastrophic wildfires in recent history have resulted in tens of thousands of acres burned to depths of up to 5 feet in some places.  Hydrology restoration work at Alligator River NWR is helping to reduce the severity of wildfires but when they do occur it takes all hands on deck to contain and extinguish these fires.  Alligator River NWR teams up with North Carolina Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Defense to fight wildfires and for fire fighter training. Expertise, staff and funding is shared among these agencies to people, property and protect natural resources. 


Cooperative Farming is an important management program that relies on a partnership between local farmers and the refuge.  Farmers lease farm fields on the refuge to grow commercial crops and in payment for the lease the farmer leaves a percentage of the crops in the fields to feed wildlife.  The crops grown and left are agreed upon by the refuge management and farmer.  This has been a very successful program that has provided needed high quality food for resident birds and wildlife and migratory waterfowl.


The Atlantic Coast Joint Venture (ACJV) is a partnership of federal, regional and state agencies and organizations focused on the conservation of habitat for native bird species in the Atlantic Flyway of the United States from Maine south to Puerto Rico. The joint venture was originally formed as a regional partnership focused on the conservation of waterfowl and wetlands under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). It steps down continental and regional waterfowl population and habitat goals from the NAWMP 2004 Update to the ACJV area, presents habitat conservation goals and population indices for the ACJV, provides current status assessments for waterfowl and their habitats in the joint venture, and updates focus area narratives and maps for each state. The ACJV is strongly committed to conserving the 41 species of native waterfowl occurring in the U.S. portion of the Atlantic Flyway.


The Partners in Flight (PIF) Conservation Plan (Continental Plan) established criteria for setting a Continental Population Objective for each high priority landbird species.  Restoration of migratory songbirds populations is a high priority for the PIF Plan for the South Atlantic Physiographic Region, which Mackay Island NWR falls within. Habitat loss, population trends, and the vulnerability of species to threats are all factors used in the priority ranking of species. Further, biologist from local offices of the Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, and conservation organizations such as the Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy have helped to identify focal species for each habitat type from which they will determine population and habitat objectives and conservation actions. This information on focal species, objectives, and conservation actions will aid migratory bird management on the Refuge.


The United States Shorebird Conservation Plan outlines approaches to conserving those species groups. It provides strategies for conserving and managing wintering, breeding, and migration habitat for midcontinental wood duck and colonial bird populations.


The Black Duck Joint Venture (BDJV) was formed in 1989 to help determine population trends and to identify the important factors responsible for this change, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the security of the black duck throughout its range. The mission of the BDJV is to implement and coordinate a cooperative population monitoring, research, and communications program to provide information required to manage black ducks and restore numbers to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) goal of 640,000 breeding birds in the original breeding ground survey area.