Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Proposes Changes to Cooperative Farming Program

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is opening a 30-day public comment period for a potential change in the refuge cooperative farming program.

Since its establishment in 1947, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge has had a long history of using agriculture as a management tool. As part of its legislative mandate, the refuge continues to provide opportunities for and encourages agricultural uses that help attain wildlife conservation goals, benefit the local economy and are compatible with other refuge purposes.

You can review the draft environmental assessment (EA) and compatibility determination (CD) that considers the use of genetically modified crops in the refuge cooperative farming program at the below links.

Interested parties can submit written comments electronically at or by mail to:  

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge,  Draft Cooperative Farming EA, 8588 Route 148 Marion, IL 62959

Draft EA Cooperative Farming Program

Draft CD Agriculture Program


Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 5, 1947. The refuge is made up of 44,000 acres of land with a great diversity of flora and fauna. The major habitats on the refuge include oak hickory upland forest, bottomland hardwood forest, cropland, grazing units, brushland, prairie, wetlands and lakes. The refuge also includes a 4,050 acre congressionally designated wilderness area.

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National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. A visit to a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and discover a new place. Whether you enjoy hiking, canoeing, hunting, camping, picnicking, wildlife photography or birdwatching a visit to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a great way to explore nature.

Location and Contact Information

      What We Do


      Some commercial, recreational and research activities are allowed on national wildlife refuges only with a special use permit issued by the local office, and are subject to specific conditions and fees. This permit requirement is meant to ensure that all activities at the federal site are...

      Some 30 national wildlife refuges  charge visitors a nominal entrance fee (generally $3-$5 daily)  to cover road and facility maintenance.  If you are a regular visitor or would like to visit other public lands, you could save by buying an America the Beautiful Federal...

      The Every Kid Outdoors program allows 4th-graders to see America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free.

      Annual 4th Grade Pass

      Cost: Free, non-transferable, valid for the duration of the 4th-grade schoolyear though the following summer (September-August...

      Our Species

      Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to spot a variety of wildlife. Visitors are likely to see bald eagles, including the six pairs that nest on the refuge. Watch for flocks of wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and a wide variety of songbirds including eastern bluebirds, indigo buntings, white-eyed vireos and summer tanagers.

      Our Library

      Currently, this is under construction. Our most recent hunt brochure and Draft Grazing EA is in here.