Oil and Gas


While the federal government owns the surface lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System, in many cases private parties own the subsurface mineral rights and have the legal authority to explore for and extract oil and gas.

Refuge staff respect and understand these rights and work closely with oil and gas companies to try and minimize impacts to refuge habitat and wildlife.  Through environmental laws, best management practices and improved technology, many of the detrimental effects of oil and gas activities have been reduced. Activities range from seismic surveys to drilling and production pipelines transiting refuge lands. An oil and gas specialist stationed at the refuge supervises all permitting requests related to oil and gas activities within the refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strives to provide balanced stewardship of public lands and natural resources, while respecting the rights of mineral owners.