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 that are based on the best science available helps us ensure, protect or enhance habitats and to maintain ecosystems for the benefit of fish and wildlife, ultimately helping fulfill the purposes of the Refuge. Tools we use at Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge focus on understanding and monitoring natural systems rather than manipulating system components whenever possible, and any active management required emphasizes protecting systems. Important conservation tools used at Kanuti Refuge include:

  • Fire management: Wildland fire is managed as a natural process that is essential in maintaining the natural variety of habitats typical of Kanuti and interior Alaska. We do this by monitoring natural ignitions to allow them to burn for resource benefits when possible, and by suppressing fires where human health, safety, and other values are at risk.
  • Subsistence management: The Alaska National Lands Interest Conservation Act that established Kanuti Refuge also protected the subsistence lifestyles of rural Alaska residents, ensuring they will continue to have priority uses of refuge resources for traditional purposes. The Refuge works closely with the State and other Federal agencies and stakeholders in harvest and resource monitoring programs to ensure the health and viability of wildlife populations to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence use.
  • Special use permits: The refuge manages commercial and research activities through permits to ensure these activities are compatible with the purposes and conservation goals of the refuge. Permitting these activities allows us to limit the scope, timing, location, and other important aspects of them to minimize impacts on wildlife and habitat.

Our Projects and Research

From collaborative projects that extend beyond the boundaries of the Refuge to long-term studies of migratory birds and everything in between, our projects help us monitor changes over time and inform management and conservation. 

Law Enforcement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has federally-trained law enforcement officers who protect the natural and cultural resources of the Refuge. Carrying out these tasks in the vast, roadless expanse of the Refuge requires a unique approach to law enforcement. Officers conduct patrols by airplane, and boat, and sometimes helicopter. The primary focus of these efforts is to ensure that all Refuge users follow state and federal wildlife and natural resource regulations. They also 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.

Contact Senior Federal Wildlife Officer Cody Smith at (907) 385-7660 if you would like to speak to a Law Enforcement officer about an issue at Kanuti Refuge. If you'd like to remain anonymous, you can contact our National Tips Line at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477). To report an incident concerning state-regulated wildlife (moose, caribou, or sport fishing), contact the State of Alaska, Fish and Game, Department of Public Safety. The public is encouraged to report violations to the State of Alaska, Violations Hotline: 1-800-478-3377.