Laws and Regulations
- Commercial Wildlife & Nature Photography
- Earthcaching (Geocaching)
- Manned and Unmanned Aircraft Use for Recreational or Commercial Purposes
- Pet Walking
- Research Conducted by Partners
- Wildlife Observation, Wildlife Photography, Environmental Education, and Interpretation
What are Compatibility Determinations?
Compatibility determinations are documents written, signed and dated by the refuge manager and the regional chief of refuges that signify whether proposed or existing uses of national wildlife refuges are compatible with their establishing purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. All recreational activities and economic or other uses of a refuge by the public or other non-Service entity require compatibility determinations, which must include our analysis of all facilities, structures and improvements associated with the uses. Economic uses must also contribute to achieving refuge purposes and the mission of the Refuge System. Compatibility determinations are not required for such refuge management activities as scientific studies or surveys, historic preservation, law enforcement, or the maintenance of refuge management facilities, structures, or improvements.
We reevaluate compatibility determinations for existing wildlife-dependent recreational uses when we prepare or revise a comprehensive conservation plan, or every 15 years, whichever is sooner. We reevaluate other uses every 10 years or sooner, if conditions change or significant new information about the use or its effects becomes available.