The mission of the Friends organization is to conserve, protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Friends Group:

The Friends of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Inc is the official refuge support group. The group was formed in 2000 when whooping cranes were about to be first introduced to Chassahowitzka NWR in 2001. Since 2000, the Friends of Crystal River NWR have helped raise awareness and resources for the protection of manatees, whooping cranes, and refuge lands and waters. They also initiated and continue to fund the first curriculum based environmental education school programs for Crystal River NWR and Chassahowitzka NWR. By supporting our Friends group either through membership or donations, you help manatees in Crystal River. For over a decade these community leaders continue to advocate for manatee conservation by increasing awareness and improving resources vital for the overall well-being of the local manatee population. For more information on how to get involved with the refuge’s Friends group, visit

Other Key Partners:

Southwest Florida Water Management District

City of Crystal River

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

US Geological Survey (USGS)

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)