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. The refuge’s primary conservation tool is to link and expand upon existing conservation areas to provide sufficient habitat for nesting grassland birds and waterfowl that are sensitive to fragmented habitat and edges, benefit migratory birds and endangered species, and assist the terrestrial migration of small mammals, herptiles and plants.

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. At this field station our conservation toolbox includes a combination of management tools like prescribed fire and prairie and woodland restoration along with purchasing of fee, conservation easement conservation easement
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership.

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and non-governmental organization/private opportunities aimed at creating contiguous natural habitat. The conservation corridors would connect the cores primarily through use of partnership efforts and to a lesser degree with fee-simple acquisition.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers at Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge keep visitors safe and help people to understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal and state hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities. Law enforcement issues should be referred to the refuge manager.

In case of emergency or ongoing violation, please call 911. For violations not in progress on the refuge, please call 920-948-2579 or the National Wildlife Refuge System TIPs hotline at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or fws_tips@fws.gov.

Laws and Regulations

Welcome to your 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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. To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of the refuge regulations. Hunting is allowed in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws and additional refuge-specific requirements. Fishing opportunities are available on the refuge. Some additional activities are not authorized, including trapping, operating motorized vehicles and camping. If you have any questions, please call the refuge manager at 815-678-4532 ext. 8206.