What We Do
The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.
Management and Conservation
Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Some refuges use prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. Other refuges contain wilderness areas where land is largely managed in passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.
Refuge staff work to restore, enhance and preserve the oak savanna upland and sedge meadow wetland habitats historically found in extensive areas along the Fox River. Staff also manage the wildlife populations that use these habitats such as the greater sandhill crane and the state threatened Blanding’s turtle.
Wildlife and habitat management techniques include prescribed fire, selective timber and woody shrub harvest, seeding of native prairie forbs (flowering plants), grasses and trees and non-nativecontrol. Wetlands are restored on the refuge by using ditch filling and stream course re-establishment.
These restoration and management activities create biologically diverse and productive wildlife habitats for cranes, ducks, herons, rails, songbirds, deer, turkeys and bobwhite quail.
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.