What We Do

Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a 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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is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species.

Management and Conservation

Refuge staff use a variety of resource management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plants and wildlife and the habitats they rely on. 

Prescribed fire

The refuge uses prescribed fire as a tool for vegetation management. Natural fires have historically occurred over the marshes surrounding Mackay Island. Since the island has been settled, many of the natural fires have been controlled. Prescribed fire helps to improve goose browse, reduce woody vegetation intrusion and reduce wildfire hazards. Goose browse is improved by removing old, rank vegetation and enabling the fresh green growth to be accessed by the birds. Fire helps to recycle nutrients that add to the productivity of the marsh. Fire also helps set back the successional stage and prevents the growth of woody vegetation. In addition, these fires are used to help reduce the buildup of wildfire fuels. Due to the proximity of the refuge to the community of Knotts Island, wildfires threaten not only refuge facilities but also private homes and businesses on the Island. 

Law Enforcement

Please report injured wildlife or wildlife crimes to Law Enforcement Officer Frank Simms (252) 423-0141.