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 helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge. 

Due to its remote nature, Rose Atoll does not receive active management. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with our partners at NOAA monitor the island for seabird activity and nesting, invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and the overall health of the surrounding reef.  

Management and Conservation

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 field station our conservation toolbox includes a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act. 

Our Services

Management goals include:

  • Conserving, restoring, managing, and protecting native terrestrial habitats that are representative of remote tropical Pacific islands, primarily for the benefit of seabirds; 
  • Conserving, managing, and protecting native marine communities that are representative of remote tropical Pacific islands;
  • Contributing to the recovery, protection, and management efforts for all native species with special consideration for seabirds, migratory shorebirds, federally listed threatened and endangered species, and species of management concern; and
  • Protecting, maintaining, enhancing, and preserving the wilderness character of terrestrial and marine communities.

Rose Atoll suffered from an oil spill, grounding, and wreck of a Taiwanese longliner in 1993. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's monitoring of injuries led to support from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Act to remove the ship debris and monitor recovery of the atoll. As of 2007, all ship debris has been removed and the atoll continues to recover based on monitoring studies since 1994. 

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 regulations that protect wildlife from illegal activities. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA in regards to illegal trespassing or fishing violations within the refuge and monument. 

Laws and Regulations

Rose Atoll is uninhabited. Due to its remote location in the South Pacific and to give adequate protection to it's native habitat and wildlife, Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is not accessible to the general public. Refuge access is solely managed through the issuance of a Special Use Permit when the activity is deemed compatible and appropriate with the purposes of refuge establishment.