"The Refuge System will be fully engaged in the effort to conserve America’s great outdoors, leading when we can, and following when we should." - Conserving the Future, Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, 2011

  • Comprehensive Conservation Plan


    The primary planning document for a refuge is called a "comprehensive conservation plan" or CCP. Under the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 each refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System is required to periodically complete a CCP to guide management over a fifteen year period. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the NWRS mission and the specific purposes for which that refuge was established. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving refuge conditions—including the types of habitat provided, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP. The Service’s preferred alternative for managing the refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well. Additionally, during the CCP writing process the public is encouraged to participate in planning meetings and to submit comments within a specified time frame.

    Learn More
  • National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act

    List-Blue Goose_USFWS

    National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997: The NWRS Improvement Act defines a unifying mission for all refuges, including a process for determining compatible uses on refuges, and requiring that each refuge be managed according to a CCP. The NWRS Improvement  Act expressly states that wildlife conservation is the priority of System lands and that the Secretary shall ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the specific purposes for which the refuge was established and the System mission. The first priority of each refuge is to conserve, manage, and if needed, restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats according to its purpose.

    Learn More