The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources.  Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management and water disputes in the most environmentally protective manner.  Scientifically-informed and technologically-based stewardship of our public lands, waters, wildlife and special places must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies, and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed.

The refuge works with several groups in the area to promote the refuge and support its activities.

The Friends of Mackay Island is a membership organization that supports the work of both Mackay Island and Currituck NWRs through volunteer recruitment and activities, grant solicitation and the raising of public awareness. The mission of the Friends is “to provide outstanding support to help Mackay Island and Currituck National Wildlife Refuges fulfill their duties for conservation management, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and habitats.”

 The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society is a traditional Friends Group that supports the refuge, and assists in seeking grants, financial contributions, and volunteers.  The staff also coordinates with a wide variety of agencies and organizations to protect the resources on the refuge.  Refuge staff coordinates management and public use with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Virginia Division of Game and Inland Fisheries. 


The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is a state-partnering agency with the Service charged with enforcement responsibilities for migratory birds and endangered species, as well as managing the state’s natural resources. It also manages approximately 1.8 million acres of game lands in North Carolina.  The Commission coordinates the state’s wildlife conservation program and provides public recreation opportunities, including an extensive hunting and fishing program, on several game lands and from several boat ramps located near Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge.


The Atlantic Coast Joint Venture (ACJV) is a partnership of federal, regional and state agencies and organizations focused on the conservation of habitat for native bird species in the Atlantic Flyway of the United States from Maine south to Puerto Rico. The joint venture was originally formed as a regional partnership focused on the conservation of waterfowl and wetlands under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). It steps down continental and regional waterfowl population and habitat goals from the NAWMP 2004 Update to the ACJV area, presents habitat conservation goals and population indices for the ACJV, provides current status assessments for waterfowl and their habitats in the joint venture, and updates focus area narratives and maps for each state. The ACJV is strongly committed to conserving the 41 species of native waterfowl occurring in the U.S. portion of the Atlantic Flyway.


The Partners in Flight (PIF) Conservation Plan (Continental Plan) established criteria for setting a Continental Population Objective for each high priority landbird species.  Restoration of migratory songbirds populations is a high priority for the PIF Plan for the South Atlantic Physiographic Region, which Mackay Island NWR falls within. Habitat loss, population trends, and the vulnerability of species to threats are all factors used in the priority ranking of species. Further, biologist from local offices of the Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, and conservation organizations such as the Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy have helped to identify focal species for each habitat type from which they will determine population and habitat objectives and conservation actions. This information on focal species, objectives, and conservation actions will aid migratory bird management on the Refuge.


The United States Shorebird Conservation Plan outlines approaches to conserving those species groups. It provides strategies for conserving and managing wintering, breeding, and migration habitat for midcontinental wood duck and colonial bird populations.


The Black Duck Joint Venture (BDJV) was formed in 1989 to help determine population trends and to identify the important factors responsible for this change, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the security of the black duck throughout its range. The mission of the BDJV is to implement and coordinate a cooperative population monitoring, research, and communications program to provide information required to manage black ducks and restore numbers to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) goal of 640,000 breeding birds in the original breeding ground survey area.