Resource Management

Mist Netting Birds

The National Wildlife Refuge System is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The FWS is the primary federal agency responsible for conserving and enhancing the nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the FWS shares this responsibility with other federal, state, tribal, local and private entities, the FWS has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands and other special aquatic habitats. The FWS also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats.

To help plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover, or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully consider management techniques and employ them in varying degrees according to the situation.

Water levels are carefully monitored and controlled to foster desired plant growth. Sometimes, sensitive areas are closed to the public so that the land can recover more quickly. Prescribed burning, mowing, experimental bio-control insect releases and seeding are also some of the techniques used to help native plants recover on national wildlife refuges.

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

Public involvement and input are important to us and to the planning process, and we hope you will take an active interest in the process, individually and as a community.


Comprehensive Conservation Plans


The measures a refuge uses to benefit wildlife are laid out a refuge-specific plans, known within the agency as comprehensive conservation plans (CCP). The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the refuge for at least a 15-year time span. 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 FWS's preferred alternative for managing the refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well.

Follow this link to download the CCP and environmental impact statement for the Hanford Reach National Monument. Please be patient; it's a big, complex refuge, and the plan and EIS take up 33MBs. If you just want to download the final management direction, follow this link; it's only 25 MBs.