Comprehensive Conservation Planning

Uganik River

The Refuge System is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is the primary Federal entity responsible for conserving and enhancing the Nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the Service shares this responsibility with other Federal, State, tribal, local, and private entities, the Service 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 Service 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.

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge completed a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan in August, 2006, and developed 15 goals based on the purposes of the Refuge and it's vision statement.

Revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan Decision Summary 

Goals and Objectives
The vision statement for and purposes of Kodiak Refuge provide the framework for developing goals and objectives for managing the Refuge.  Goals are broad statement of desired future conditions.  Objectives are concise statements of what the Refuge wants to accomplish.  The refuge staff developed fifteen goals for management of Kodiak Refuge. Several objectives were identified for each goal, though objectives identified for one goal are often applicable to other goals.  Note:  Some objectives, though identified under a specific goal, may apply to more than one goal.  When appropriate, objectives will be conducted in coordination with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) or other cooperators. 

Goal 1:  Increase our knowledge of fish and wildlife populations, their habitats, and their interrelationships.

Objectives include:  Complete the inventory and monitoring plan for refuge fauna and flora; monitor for fish, wildlife, and avian diseases and invasive aquatic species; curate wildlife study records using professional database-management standards and methods; publish, in peer-reviewed journals, or otherwise make publicly available, results of refuge-sponsored research and routine surveys.

Goal 2:  Ensure that Kodiak brown bears continue to flourish throughout the Refuge and congregate at traditional concentration areas.

Objectives include:  Monitor and evaluate trends in population size, composition, and mortality (including the Afognak Island population); maintain bear densities within established ranges; complete genetic diversity assessment of Kodiak brown bears to better understand their vulnerability to diseases, environmental stresses, and parameters of population viability.  Monitor the supply of berries thought to be essential to the brown bear population.  In areas of high public use or special management concern, increase monitoring efforts related to bear densities and bear-human interactions.

Goal 3:
 Manage nonnative species to minimize impacts on native resources, while continuing to provide opportunities for harvest.  Implement studies to evaluate habitat use and preferences of Sitka black-tail deer and their influence on winter range habitat and their effect on berry-producing shrubs (important brown bear habitat).  Monitor deer population trends on Kodiak Island to facilitate harvest and habitat management.  Monitor annually trends in distribution, size, and composition of the elk population on Afognak Island.

Objectives include:  Monitor trends in population size and productivity, habitat use and preference, and summer and winter distribution of the mountain goat population.  Implement studies to evaluate habitat use and preference of Sitka black-tail deer, their influence on habitat (winter range), and their effect on berry-producing shrubs; and monitor population trends on Kodiak Island to facilitate harvest and habitat management.  Annually monitor trends in distribution, size, and composition of the elk population on Afognak Island.  

Goal 4
:  Continue to improve understanding and management of furbearing and nongame mammals that use Kodiak Refuge.

Objectives include:  Implement a survey, with Alaska Region’s Marine Mammals Office, to annually index sea otter population trends; monitor trends in river otter populations; initiate habitat ecology study of snowshoe hares; expand communication, education, and information efforts related to furbearer management and harvest.

Goal 5
:  Monitor populations of resident and migratory birds as indicators of ecosystem health.

Objectives include:  Monitor populations of environmentally sensitive resident birds (coastal) and wintering waterfowl; develop a banding program to monitor survival and productivity trends of sea ducks; monitor for long-term trends in distribution, size, and reproductive success of nesting bald eagles; identify important refuge habitat for bird species of conservation concern; collaborate with the Alaska Region’s Migratory Bird Management Office on periodic monitoring of wintering Steller’s eider populations; develop baseline information on contaminants.

Goal 6
:  Maintain and restore native plant populations, communities, and habitats.

Objectives include:  Conduct reconnaissance surveys for invasive plants; initiate collaborative control or eradication actions, if necessary.  Describe species composition for selected areas of the Refuge (emphasis on Kodiak Refugium); monitor and evaluate major plant communities near remote weather stations.

Goal 7:
 Conserve the abundance of natural salmonid populations for continued human and wildlife use and to ensure the diversity of species as indicators of the health of the Refuge’s ecosystem. 

Objectives include:  Annually monitor salmon escapement and harvest levels to ensure species diversity and future production and to support commercial, recreation, subsistence, and wildlife needs; evaluate need for steelhead escapement goals on selected rivers; monitor and assess populations of noncommercial species to gather baseline data; develop, in collaboration with ADF&G, strategies to improve and stabilize weak stocks; document and describe genetic characteristics and variability of natural fish populations (in the Refugium and refuge-wide).  Using escapement, habitat, and other pertinent data, establish sustainable or biological escapement goals for all species of salmon within the Refuge; monitor streamside areas to ensure spawning and rearing habitats remain productive.

Goal 8:
 Provide the opportunity for local residents to continue their subsistence uses on the Refuge, consistent with the subsistence priority and with other refuge purposes.

Objectives include:  Issue special actions, under federal in-season management, when necessary to ensure conservation of healthy fish stocks and to provide for subsistence uses of fish in Federal waters.  Coordinate with the Alaska Region’s Migratory Bird Management Office and other appropriate entities to ensure completion of annual Migratory Bird Harvest Surveys and other subsistence use surveys as needed.

Goal 9:
 Improve baseline understanding of natural flowing waters on the Refuge and maintain the water quality and quantity necessary to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity.

Objectives include:  Ensure that the Terror Lake Project is in compliance with instream-flow requirements specified in the FERC license; in coordination with the Regional Branch of Water Resources, complete the water resources inventory and assessment of the Refuge waters and quantify and file for instream water rights for maintenance and protection of fish and wildlife habitat; initiate limnology studies on selected lakes and streams within the Refuge that provide important fish and wildlife habitat. 

Goal 10:
 Provide opportunities for quality public use and enjoyment of refuge resources through compatible fish and wildlife-dependent recreation activities, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography.

Objectives include:  Monitoring and managing areas receiving seasonally heavy public use and areas under easement agreements to minimize impacts to fish, wildlife, and habitat; ensure compatibility; and provide for sustainable recreation.  Develop operations plan for Refuge law enforcement which includes monitoring commercial activities (special use permits and operating plans), expanding outreach, and increasing field patrols.  Assess the nature of available visitor experiences, significant influences on those experiences, and public acceptability of potential changes to those experiences prior to developing the viewing program at O’Malley River (or any other new sites) or modifying the program at the Frazer fish pass site.  Prior to relocating existing cabins or identifying sites for new cabins, evaluate all current site (and any potential new sites) to ensure that a variety of compatible recreation opportunities are provided.  Monitor and assess public access (off-road vehicle and snowmachine) and use of 17(b) easements, conservation easement lands, and other refuge lands and implement management actions to ensure that resource impacts are minimized. 

Goal 11:
 Improve management of commercial use opportunities that are compatible with refuge purposes, provide quality public use opportunities, enhance visitor experiences, and ensure compliance with provisions of ANILCA. 

Objectives include:  Review and develop, if needed, a new system for administering special use permit applications.  Develop an education program to inform commercial operators (permittees) of refuge requirements, goals, and regulations including updated information on bear safety and awareness.  After obtaining stakeholder input, update the 1987 Commercial Fisheries Plan, if necessary.

Goal 12:
 Provide outreach, environmental education, and interpretive programs that increase a sense of stewardship for wildlife, cultural resources, and the environment and that enhance visitor experiences on the Refuge.

Objectives include:  Plan, design, and complete a refuge visitor center (opened in November 2007); expand staffing, as needed. Uupdate and improve refuge website (and other electronic media) as public information source.  Establish funding for Summer Science and Salmon Camp program as part of refuge base funds.  Work within local communities to increase awareness of the Refuge; continue to provide opportunities for:  partnerships, volunteer projects, educational workshops with local schools (students and teachers), and environmental education, nature walks, and interpretive programs.

Goal 13:
 Conserve cultural and archaeological resources of the Refuge.

Objectives include:  Identify priority areas to inventory for archaeological and other cultural resource surveys;  conduct surveys as time and personnel permit; identify and monitor sites at risk for vandalism.  Formalize the existing partnership with the Alutiiq Museum.   Identify and acquire archival resources necessary to support archaeological and historic site protection, public interpretation, and information useful in wildlife and habitat management; expand the Alaska Heritage Resource Stewardship Program for site monitoring and evaluating site conditions on the Refuge.  Provide necessary training to refuge law-enforcement personnel and other staff.

Goal 14:
 Conserve special and unique features of the Kodiak Archipelago ecosystem within the Refuge.

Objectives include:  Develop, with public involvement, a management plan for the Mount Glottof Research Natural Area.

Goal 15:
 Promote close working relationships through effective coordination, interaction, and cooperation with other federal agencies, state agencies, local communities, tribes, organizations, industries, the general public, and the landowners within and adjacent to the Refuge whose programs affect or are affected by refuge management activities.

Objectives include:  Ensure that biological and subsistence management, monitoring, and research findings are provided to interested external audiences.  Continue refuge involvement and interaction with groups involved in the fish and game regulatory process.  Use public processes to encourage stakeholder involvement in implementing this Conservation Plan.  Continue the Refuge Information Technician program to enhance information exchange with local communities.  Participate in interagency activities, cooperative agreements, partnerships with local communities, and other actions that will help to accomplish mutual management goals and objectives.