Management and Conservation


Commercial Forestry

The refuge uses commercial forest management for the primary purpose of creating and/or improving and maintaining wildlife habitat to ensure a diversity of forest structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish…

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and composition. Commercial forest management may include a variety of accepted silvicultural practices designed to alter forest conditions and favor the development of certain desirable forest community types that will benefit individual wildlife species or species groups.

Invasive Species - Monitoring and Treatment 

There are several non-native, invasive plant and animal species found in low numbers in Canaan Valley. These include balsam and hemlock woolly adelgid, multiflora rose, autumn olive, reed canary grass, Japanese knotweed, Japanese stiltgrass, and garlic mustard. Refuge staff closely monitor adelgid populations and are examining the possibility of using experimental treatments including beetle releases as potential future tools to battle these insects. Non-native plants on the refuge are “tracked down” by the refuge’s volunteer invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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group – a group of about 35 volunteers who survey roads, trails, and transects each year. Once these invasive plants are located, refuge staff eradicate them using a variety of methods like hand-pulling, cutting, and herbicide application. 

Tree and Shrub Planting 

In Canaan Valley, fires and logging activity followed by years of grazing in some areas have created conditions not suitable for natural tree succession. In areas that were historically forested but have not regrown, refuge staff and volunteers replant native tree and shrub species. Planting events are organized during the spring and fall months and include a variety of tree and shrub species. Some species, including red spruce and balsam fir are planted to expand and connect conifer habitat for rare species including the Virginia Northern flying squirrel and Cheat Mountain salamander. In other areas, early successional species like quaking aspen and speckled alder are planted to create habitat for birds like American woodcock, Eastern towhee, brown thrasher, and field sparrow. 

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. 


Law Enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Officers help visitors understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities. Some other duties include patrolling closed areas or Wilderness areas, maintaining relationships with neighboring landowners, maintaining refuge boundaries and participating in public events related to refuge issues. 


Laws and Regulations

To protect habitat and keep Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge a safe place for both wildlife and people, please follow these simple rules: