Refuge Priorities

March 2020 Update image collage


Working Smarter, Maximizing Results   

A message from Anne Morkill, Project Leader of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Our conservation mission is becoming more urgent in the face of climate change, invasive species, urbanization, and other stressors. We've made a lot of progress in the past several years in habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, land acquisition, urban community outreach, and participated in several regional planning efforts and collaborative partnerships, all of which help advance our conservation mission. However, our ability to achieve our conservation goals and objectives on the ground across seven refuges has been greatly diminished by declining budgets and fewer staff, a continual trend since 2010.   

In order to meet these challenges now and into the future, we must focus our limited resources on those wildlife conservation and public engagement strategies that will make the most difference and have the greatest success. To do that, we are using an internationally recognized process called The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. It provides a structured yet adaptive framework for bringing our staff together to identify and prioritize conservation and human well-being targets, understand the threats, select effective strategies, and develop annual work plans that balance the commitment of resources (funding and staff time) across the seven refuges. This effort built on on our existing Comprehensive Conservation Plans, the best available science, and partner input, but we must face the reality that we cannot do everything so we must focus on what is most important.

It is also essential to acknowledge here that focusing on what is the most important priorities means that some things we have been doing for many years will drop out. Activities identified as low priorities during this process will still be represented in our overall multi-year work plan so that they can be addressed when more funding is available or new information changes the priorities. Many of you have a vested interest in our refuges or might be affected by changes in our activities, such as our Refuge Friends groups, cooperators, researchers, and volunteers, so we are available to meet with you about this process upon request. For more information on the Open Standards, visit

For more detailed information about the process and our progress to date, see the planning updates below. The documents are in pdf. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you require the documents in another format, call 510/792-0222.



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