Resource Management

Wildland firefighters managing a controlled fire at the refuge

Prescribed fire is used as a management tool at the Refuge to maintain pine savannah habitat to in order support the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker.


Refuge staff use a variety of resource management techniques to maintain, recover, or enhance plant and wildlife values. Prescribed burning, mowing, bio-control insect releases to control invasive species, and marsh grass and tree planting are some of the techniques used to help native plants and wildlife to thrive on the National Wildlife Refuge.

Standardized ground and aerial wildlife surveys and vegetation surveys are conducted to inventory populations and document habitat use. Units are evaluated by how well they met habitat and wildlife use objectives. 

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds, or to control certain wildlife populations. At Big Branch Marsh NWR the destructive and invasive nutria (a muskrat-like rodent) may be trapped by special permit.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.Click here for more information on trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System.