Last year, hundreds of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and partners forged the Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. This year, we are implementing that vision.

In 2012, Refuge Update is presenting a series of Focus sections devoted to the implementation. This Focus section, titled Strengthening Science, centers on the objectives of the Scientific Excellence team as they pertain to recommendations 6 7, 9 and 10 of the vision.

Recommendation 6: Provide each refuge with access to all the necessary resources to fully implement the principles of adaptive management for all aspects of the Refuge System.

Recommendation 7: Institutionalize a purpose-driven, nationally coordinated effort to inventory and monitor wildlife and habitats to obtain data that inform planning and management decisions; and develop a state-of-the-art data management system that can be integrated with the broader scientific community and key partners.

Recommendation 9: Develop and clearly articulate a research agenda for the Refuge System that is management-oriented and grounded in the testing of assumptions, with the explicit purpose of reducing uncertainty in our planning and management decisions.

Recommendation 10: Become a major contributor to the scientific community by sharing information and data; publishing scientific findings; participating in professional societies; and engaging with local, regional and national organizations and communities to solve conservation problems.