Comprehensive Conservation Planning

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.


Comprehensive Conservation Plan



Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP)

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 requires each National Wildlife Refuge to prepare a comprehensive plan (CCP) by the year 2012. Planning for the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge began in 2000 and concluded in 2006 with the adoption of a CCP. The plan addresses the management of plant species, wildlife and fish populations, endangered species, cultural resources, contaminants, public use, education, research and partnerships. 

Generally, a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP):

  • Is a 15-year refuge management plan;
  • Serves the purposes of the refuge;
  • Describes the desired future conditions of a refuge;
  • Provides consistency and continuity; and
  • Provides long-range guidance and management direction for a refuge manager.

The multi-year CCP Process includes the following steps:

  • Conduct preplanning (research and analysis of needs);
  • Conduct public scoping (obtain public input on priority issues);
  • Prepare a Draft CCP/EA report;
  • Conduct an internal review of the report with Service personnel;
  • Hold a public review and comment period on the Draft CCP/EA;
  • Create a Final CCP;
  • Fulfill all applicable National Environmental Policy Act requirements;
  • Implement and Monitor the CCP over 15 years; and
  • Review & revise the Plan within 15 years.

Purposes of the Plan

Provide a clear statement regarding the management of the refuge for the next 15 years;
Provide refuge neighbors, visitors, the public, and government officials with an understanding of refuge management actions on and around the refuge;
Ensure that the refuge's management actions are consistent with the mandates of the National Wildlife Refuge System; and
Provide a basis for the development of budget requests on the refuge's operational, maintenance, and capitol improvement needs. 


St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 560 refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This system is a network of United States lands and waters managed specifically for wildlife and is administered by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 states the Refuge system mission is to "administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans".

Purpose of the Refuge

The purpose of St. Vincent NWR is to protect and conserve migratory birds in accordance with the following:

"... for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds."
16 U.S.C. 715D (Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929)

Current management is guided by the mission statement directive: “…to manage and preserve the natural barrier island and associated native plant and animal communities.


St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge will be a prime example of a large, undeveloped barrier island with nearby coastal habitats which provide a unique natural diversity of plant and animal communities and buffers the important estuarine resources of Apalachicola Bay. Through partnerships, the refuge will link coastal ecosystems with a network of wildlands for the conservation of threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and resident fish and wildlife for the benefit of future generations. The refuge will provide compatible, primitive, outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities, so that the public will understand and appreciate the importance of conserving its natural and cultural resources.