What We Do

As a national wildlife refuge , our priority is to provide quality habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of the public. Existing issues like beach erosion, invasive plant infestations, and climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
constantly threaten the integrity of native habitat essential for the continued existence of wildlife. Management actions are intended to mitigate habitat degradation so visitors like you may experience nature at its best. 

The islands are currently closed year-round to all public use because of their small size and critical importance to coastal species. 

Management and Conservation

Comprehensive Conservation Plan 

Refuge conservation plans are called “comprehensive conservation plans” (CCPs). The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the refuge  for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving refuge conditions— including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP. The Service’s preferred alternative for managing the refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well. 

National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997: The NWRS Improvement Act defines a unifying mission for all refuges, including a process for determining compatible uses on refuges, and requiring that each refuge be managed according to a CCP. The NWRS Improvement  Act expressly states that wildlife conservation is the priority of System lands and that the Secretary shall ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the specific purposes for which the refuge was established and the System mission. The first priority of each refuge is to conserve, manage, and if needed, restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats according to its purpose. 

Our Projects and Research

Refuge staff monitor the beach-nesting bird populations monthly by recording numbers of nesting pairs, spring and fall migrants, and wintering birds. They also follow Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Breeding Bird Protocol (numbers and locations of nesting pairs) and FWC's Monitoring Protocol for Non-Breeding Shorebirds and Seabirds (numbers and locations). Data is entered into the Florida Shorebird Database.