Laws and Regulations

Compatibility Determinations

 

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.

 

Federal Register Notices, Laws, Treaties, and Regulations List

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act provides for protection of archaeological resources and sites on public and Tribal lands and for increased cooperation between government authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private collectors with collections obtained before...

The Coastal Zone Management Act establishes a voluntary national program within the Department of Commerce to encourage coastal States to develop and implement coastal zone management plans. Activities that affect coastal zones must be consistent with approved State programs. The Act also...

The Endangered Species Act establishes protections for fish, wildlife, and plants that are listed as threatened or endangered; provides for adding species to and removing them from the list of threatened and endangered species, and for preparing and implementing plans for their recovery;...

The Lacey Act, as amended in 1981, provides that the Secretary of the Interior designate injurious wildlife and ensure the humane treatment of wildlife shipped to the United States. Prohibits importation, exportation, transportation, sale, or purchase of fish and wildlife taken or possessed in...

The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act, commonly referred to as the Duck Stamp Act, requires waterfowl hunters, 16 years of age or older, to purchase and possess a valid Federal waterfowl hunting stamp prior to taking migratory waterfowl. The Secretary of the Interior is...

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703-712) implements four international conservation treaties that the U.S. entered into with Canada in 1916, Mexico in 1936, Japan in 1972, and Russia in 1976. It is intended to ensure the sustainability of populations of all protected migratory...

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) provides that the Service examine the environmental impacts, incorporate environmental information, and use public participation in the planning and implementation of all actions; integrate NEPA with other planning requirements; prepare NEPA...

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 directs Federal agencies to preserve, restore, and maintain historic cultural environments.

The National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act authorizes cooperative agreements with nonprofit partner organizations, academic institutions, or State and local governments to construct, operate, maintain, or improve refuge facilities and services, and to promote volunteer, outreach, and...

The Refuge Recreation Act of 1962, with subsequent amendments, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to administer refuges, hatcheries and other conservation areas for recreational use, when such uses do not interfere with the primary purpose for which these areas were established.

Provides authority, guidelines, and directives for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve the National Wildlife Refuge System; administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and habitat; ensure the...

Spells out wildlife conservation as the fundamental mission of the Refuge System; requires comprehensive conservation planning to guide management of the Refuge System; directs the involvement of private citizens in land management decisions; and provides that compatible wildlife-dependent...

To comply with the January 2021 Price v. Barr decision of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which determined that the permit and fee requirements for commercial filming are unconstitutional, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has...

Unconfined domestic animals — including dogs, hogs, cats, horses, sheep and cattle — are not permitted to enter or roam at large at any national wildlife refuge, except as specifically authorized. Some refuges do not permit pets on leashes. Check refuge rules before you visit.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System and authorizes Congress to designate wilderness areas. Here, in the Wilderness Act, is a definition of wilderness: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is...