Management and Conservation
National Wildlife Refuge planning sets the broad vision for refuge management and the goals, objectives, strategies, and actions required to achieve it. Planning ensures that each refuge meets its individual purposes, contributes to the Refuge System’s mission and priorities, is consistent with other applicable laws and policies, and enhances conservation benefits beyond refuge boundaries.
Comprehensive Conservation Plans
Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs) are the primary planning documents for National Wildlife Refuges. As outlined in the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is required to develop CCPs that guide refuge management for the next 15 years. CCPs articulate the Service’s contributions to meeting refuge purposes and the National Wildlife Refuge System mission. CCPs serve as a bridge between broad, landscape-level plans developed by other agencies and stakeholders and the more detailed step-downs that stem from Refuge CCPs.
The 2016 Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Lower Klamath, Clear Lake, Tule Lake, Upper Klamath, and Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuges can be found here: https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/Reference/Profile/114424
CCP step-down plans guide refuge-level programs for: (1) conserving natural resources (e.g., fish, wildlife, plants, and the ecosystems they depend on for habitat); (2) stewarding other special values of the refuge (e.g., cultural or archeological resources, wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, etc.); and (3) engaging visitors and the community in conservation, including providing opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation. Like CCPs, step-down plans contribute to the implementation of relevant landscape plans by developing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) objectives, strategies, implementation schedules, and decision support tools to fulfill refuge visions and goals. This ensures that refuges are managed in a landscape context and that conservation benefits extend beyond refuge boundaries.
Our Projects and Research
Since the mid 90’s the USFWS and cooperators have begun converting farm fields to wetlands and then back again. This rotation of farm to wetland/and back mimics the creation and destruction of wetlands that used to occur along the edges of a naturally fluctuating Tule Lake. Fields are typically flooded soon after harvest and by fall they become habitat for migrating waterfowl. After 2 years, following the wetland cycling, fields are returned to agricultural production. Known as “walking wetlands”, this practice has dramatically increased wildlife use and enhanced crop production while eliminating the need for pesticides. This practice has also been adopted on neighboring private farmland.