The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources.

Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management issues in the most protective manner. Scientifically-informed and technologically-based stewardship of our public lands, water, wildlife and special places must be a collaborative effort between the Refuge System, private landowners and organizations, and other government agencies if conservation efforts are to succeed.


The refuge partners with the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Associationon many important projects that benefit wildlife, the visiting public and surrounding communities. This non-profit friends group play an important role in education and outreach, habitat management, and restoration efforts of the refuge.




Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) is a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that has been restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat on private lands. It provides cost-sharing and technical assistance to non-federal landowners, including private landowners, local governments, native American tribes, educational institutions, and other entities. The program generally involves wetland, grassland and/or riparian restoration efforts.

Tennessee Valley Authority

Our long-term partnership with TVA is an important one. The refuge was established in 1938 as an overlay refuge on lands owned by TVA and continues to be operated under a cooperative agreement with TVA. In 1959, TVA transferred 8,323 acres in fee-title to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We continue to partner with TVA in operation of pumping stations in our dewatering units and other resource management activities.

Ducks Unlimited:

Ducks Unlimited, through their MARSH Program, has partnered with the refuge in the development of eight projects to improve management capabilities for migratory birds on 3,345 acres.