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. 

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is one of the Service’s Urban National Wildlife Refuges and was established in 2012 in Bernalillo County, seven miles south of downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. The refuge occupies 570-acres of ancestral, traditional, and contemporary land of the Tiwa People. As current land stewards, the refuge strives to connect people with wildlife, plants, and the land by providing equitable and just ways to deepen personal relationships with nature, while balancing healthy natural habitat management with opportunities for education, visitor engagement, youth employment, community involvement, and stewardship.  

Two components in achieving this goal are through the management of invasive plant species, while protecting beneficial insects and pollinators, and the restoration of native, natural habitats on the refuge. The refuge has outlined its approach to invasive plant species management through a draft Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management Plan (IPPM Plan) and restoration through a draft Habitat Development and Management Plan (HDM Plan). The IPPM Plan is a science-based, decision-making process that incorporates management goals, pest biology, monitoring, selection of the best available technology, and other factors to achieve desired outcomes, while minimizing effects to non-target species, the environment, and people. The HDM Plan is a dynamic plan, which provides a decision-making process and guidance for the development or creation and management of refuge habitats. 

Work plans are being created, which outline an annual or monthly plan for staff, volunteers, and interns, while providing ways in which partners and the community can get involved in integrated pest management and habitat restoration at the refuge. In addition, these plans outline best management practices to follow as various treatment methods are employed on the refuge to avoid impacts to non-target species, address invasive plant spread through various pathways or vectors, and best timing and practices for restoration planting in the various habitat types. Different potential invasive plant treatment methods include hand-removal, mechanical removal (mowing, haying, or tilling), pesticide treatment, biological control, water management and cover crops. Moreover, these Plans outline some operational policies for the refuge’s Pesticide Program, such as use of the Pesticide Use Proposal System, safety, training, storage, reporting, and transparent communication or notifications strategies to internal and external parties and the refuge's Biological Program as a whole.  

Through these plan drafts, staff will monitor and evaluate invasive plant species, applied treatments, and success and impacts of restoration efforts. The refuge will continue to use adaptive management to modify or change course when any strategies are not working or need modification to better meet the refuge’s invasive plant species and habitat restoration goals and objectives. 

The Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management Plan (IPPM Plan) and Habitat Development and Management Plan (HDM Plan) are internal plans and not yet finalized or available for review. 

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.

Law Enforcement

Federal law enforcement officers ensure the safety of the public and the protection of natural resources. They address illegal activities, including poaching, taking of endangered species, dumping of trash, illegal operation of all-terrain vehicles and trespassing. 
To report a violation on Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge, please call: 

  • (505) 933-2708 -- Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm-MDT 

  • (575) 518-8090 -- After hours or on weekends   

For injured wildlife, please contact a qualified wildlife rehabilitation facility near you. 

Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico, Phone: (505) 344-2500 

Laws and Regulations

Review rules and regulations to support a fun and safe visit to Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. If you would like to conduct an activity on Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge please refer the requirements for special use permits.