The purposes of Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge are to protect and conserve migratory birds and other wildlife resources through the protection of wetlands. Part of that conservation is protecting the refuge resources with law enforcement efforts and adequate preparation for wildfires by maintaining firebreaks, fire-fighting equipment, and a well-trained staff of firefighters. The active conservation revolves around prescribed burning in marshes and pine forests to mimic natural fire cycles, but conduct the burns under controlled conditions. The fires not only maintain habitat in optimum condition for all species of wildlife, but protect local towns and highways from fire and smoke. The staff manages moist soil vegetation management units by managing water levels, monitoring the vegetation, and disturbing the vegetation in an appropriate manner to ensure that it meets the needs of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. The cropland is maintained by cooperative farmers who leave part of their crop in the field for wildlife. Most of the refuge is occupied by Lake Mattamuskeet that is not actively managed, but water quality is monitored to evaluate its impact of fish and wildlife populations.

  • Comprehensive Conservation Plan


    Refuge conservation plans are called “comprehensive conservation plans” (CCPs). The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the Refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving Refuge conditions—including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP. The Service’s preferred alternative for managing the Refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well.

    Download Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

    Learn More
  • National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act


    National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997: The NWRS Improvement Act defines a unifying mission for all refuges, including a process for determining compatible uses on refuges, and requiring that each refuge be managed according to a CCP. The NWRS Improvement  Act expressly states that wildlife conservation is the priority of System lands and that the Secretary shall ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the specific purposes for which the refuge was established and the System mission. The first priority of each refuge is to conserve, manage, and if needed, restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats according to its purpose.

    Learn More