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.
Management and Conservation
National wildlife refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.
Before the railroads arrived and the locks and dams were built, the lands within the refuge were meandering backwaters of the Mississippi River. As such, these backwaters experienced floods and droughts. Today, we use dikes and control structures to mimic this natural cycle by lowering the water to expose mudflats and allow plants to germinate. Migratory waterfowl and marsh birds benefit.
Low-level dikes, water control structures and pumps are used to mimic natural wet and dry conditions, which in turn provide food, cover, and protection to birds during their semi-annual migrations. Other activities include planting native trees to restore flood plain forests and using prescribed fire for enhancing native grasslands.
Trapping is a wildlife management tool used as well on the refuge. Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.
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 illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.
Laws and Regulations
A special use permit is required for all hunting in the south zone on the refuge.