Comprehensive Conservation Planning


Refuge conservation plans are called Comprehensive Conservation Plans, or 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.

To support and fulfill the mission of the Refuge System, the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act (1997) required that the Service will develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge in the Refuge System. To meet this requirement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is nearing completion of a CCP for the National Elk Refuge. A draft CCP and accompanying Environmental Assessment (as required by the National Environmental Policy Act) describes management alternatives under consideration and their effects on the environment. The Notice of Availability (NOA) for the documents was announced on September 9, 2014. The refuge's CCP was available for public comment from September 9 through October 24, 2014. 

After an extensive review of comments and internal reviews, the CCP was approved on September 18, 2015. A notice of availability was published in the Federal Register and was subsequently released to the public on November 14, 2016. 

This 15-year plan will provide long-range guidance and management direction for all of the refuge's programs. The plan will outline a vision statement and supporting goals, objectives, and strategies. It will be a "living" document that is updated every 15 years.

The Bison and Elk Management Plan, completed in 2007, provides goals, objectives, and strategies for managing bison and elk on the National Elk Refuge and in Grand Teton National Park for the next 15 years. Therefore, the CCP will not address bison and elk management on the refuge, but will address all other aspects of refuge management including migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, visitor use, and cultural resources. 

A comprehensive web site on the National Elk Refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan can be found at