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 reason a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there and the resource management tools. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.

The purpose of the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is the conservation, maintenance, and management of wildlife resources and habitat with an emphasis on migratory birds. 

Management and Conservation

The Refuge's water levels are carefully monitored and controlled to foster desired plant growth. Sometimes, sensitive areas are closed to the public so the land can recover more quickly.

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 Refuge our conservation toolbox used to help native plants recover includes:

  • Planning - Comprehensive Conservation Plan
  • Cooperative Agriculture
  • Compatibility Determinations
  • Cultural Resources
  • Education and Outreach
  • Experimental bio-control insect releases
  • Fire Management
  • Prescribed grazing
  • Prescribed mowing
  • Human Dimensions
  • Invasive Species
  • Inventory and Monitoring
  • Land Acquisition
  • Law Enforcement
  • Recreation Management
  • Seeding
  • Water Management

Standardized wildlife and vegetation surveys are conducted on the ground and by air on some refuges throughout the year to inventory populations and document habitat use. Units are evaluated by how well they met habitat and wildlife use objectives.

The Refuge consists of 10,778 acres, which supports diverse wildlife habitat including:

  • grasslands
  • wooded riparian riparian
    Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

    Learn more about riparian
  • shorelines
  • open water
  • wetlands
  • croplands 

Law Enforcement

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 poaching and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.

Laws and Regulations

There are many of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the Refuge. Keep in mind, that all recreational activities on the Refuge have rules designed to protect you and wildlife and their habitats.  Please contact the Refuge office at (785) 543-6673 for more information.

Various laws and regulations determine what can and can't happen on a refuge.  The Refuge was created by law and there are several laws that regulate recreational activities and conservation actions.