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.
Due to its remote nature, Howland Island does not receive active management. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with our partners at NOAA monitor the island for seabird activity and nesting,, and the overall health of the surrounding reef.
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 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 Comprehensive Conservation Plan and the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act.
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 regulations that protect migratory birds and other species from illegal take. Some other duties include patrolling closed areas or wilderness areas, maintaining relationships with neighboring landowners, maintaining refuge boundaries and participating in public events related to refuge issues. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA in regards to illegal trespassing or fishing violations within the monument.
Law enforcement issues should be referred to the deputy refuge manager or refuge manager.
You may also report violations to our "TIPS" line 1-844-FWS-TIPS (379-8477).
Laws and Regulations
Howland Island is uninhabited. Due to its remote location in the Central Pacific and to give adequate protection to its native habitat and wildlife, Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge is not accessible to the general public. Refuge access is solely managed through the issuance of a Special Use Permit when the activity is deemed compatible and appropriate with the purposes of refuge establishment.