Comprehensive Conservation Planning

W H 512W Longleaf Pine Forests

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.

The Refuge System is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (the Service), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is the primary Federal entity responsible for conserving and enhancing the Nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the Service shares this responsibility with other Federal, State, tribal, local, and private entities, the Service has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands, and other special aquatic habitats. The Service also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats. Furthermore, the Service policy is to manage all lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System in accordance with an approved comprehensive conservation plan (CCP), as required under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. These plans outline a vision for each refuge; guide management decisions; and outline goals, objectives and strategies to achieve the visions and purposes of each refuge unit. The plans will provide other agencies and the public with an understanding of the management strategies to be implemented, and further the missions of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan

The Fish and Wildlife Service prepared the CCP to guide the management of Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge’s CCP outlines programs and corresponding resource needs for the next 15 years, as mandated by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. The CCP created was the most ambitious, yet feasible offering benefits for wildlife, habitat and public use.

The Refuge improves wintering waterfowl habitat, enhances existing wood stork rookery, and restores wading bird feeding areas through hydrology restoration. With regard to neotropical migratory birds, the Refuge conducts informal surveys on swallow-tailed kites and Swainson’s warblers on an occasional basis. The Refuge has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to implement prescribe fire on Sandy Island.

Conduct annual surveys of black bears and attempt to enlist public participation in gathering, recording, and compiling sightings.

Reducing deer herd density to improve herd health and to improve habitat quality for other species.

Refuge recreational use has expanded in its hunting opportunities. It would explore the potential for a youth waterfowl hunt on managed wetlands.

In addition, opportunities for wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation would be expanded.

This alternative would expand on hunting opportunities for deer and hog by considering a hunt by mobility-impaired individuals. It would potentially include a youth waterfowl hunt on refuge management lands.