Resource Management

Why do we "manage" Mother Nature? This is not an easy question to answer, and there is no one golden answer. Suffice it to say that refuge management is complicated, sometimes controversial, but always needed. Most national wildlife refuges were established to protect and enhance wetlands for the conservation of migratory birds, some were established to provide habitat for the Nation's endangered species. All need to be maintained in order to ensure the survival of the wildlife that live within them.

Managing the Resource: A Look at Resource Management Programs 

Resource management is the key to ensuring that future generations of Americans will continue to enjoy fish and wildlife and their unique habitats. Resource management activities may include shifting areas of public use on a refuge to protect nesting bald eagles and/or wading birds, setting controlled burns to rejuvenate certain plants for food or cover, manipulating water levels for waterfowl, wading birds or shorebirds, or growing special crops which entice native wildlife back to their traditional habitats. 

Resource management programs within the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge include some of the following:

Forest Management Program

  • Prescribed Fire: Controlled burning of pine forests
  • Thinning pine forests to maintain healthy undergrowth
  • Restoration of the native longleaf pine forests
Impoundment Management Program
  • Manipulate water levels in 1600 acres of managed pools
  • Annual maintenance & controlled burns of impoundments 
Exotic Plant Eradication Program
  • Cogongrass
  • Chinese Tallow Tree
  • Torpedo grass
Endangered Species Program
  • Bald Eagle protection & monitoring
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker management
  • Flatwoods Salamander management
  • Least Tern nest site management 
Wildlife Population Management
  • Waterfowl monitoring
  • Wood Duck nest box maintenance
  • Breeding Bird monitoring
  • Wading Bird rookery monitoring
  • Deer Herd management
  • Alligator population management

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information on trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System.