Landscape Scale
Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation
Human demands on the environment combined with environmental stressors are creating an urgent need for innovative conservation choices. The scale of issues and challenges we face is unprecedented and impacts us all. Explore the tools that help us scale up to landscape level thinking in terms of both planning and reducing our organization footprint.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with our partners, is charting a course for the future of the National Wildlife Refuge System by assessing our land protection priorities amid landscape level changes to endsure conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats.
A Landscape Scale Approach to Refuge System Planning

This report is our proposal for “A Landscape-Scale Approach to Refuge System Planning.” It recommends that we focus the next generation of planning on Landscape Conservation Designs (LCDs), developed by the greater conservation community through partnership in Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs). LCDs are consistent with Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) and are a partnership-driven conservation strategy that identifies desired future conditions and management prescriptions at multiple scales across jurisdictions. Key to our recommendation is incorporating LCDs into the preplanning phase of every Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Land Protection Plan (LPP). With limited exceptions, no CCP or LPP should be developed until after an LCD has been completed.

A Plan for Strategic Growth

This report shares a history of refuge land acquisition and how it may shape our future direction. It establishes a baseline from which our work in creating new policy flows. Given the costs and time factors to expand refuge lands, we must ensure that what we do add to the Refuge System is valuable and the right choice made on behalf of the American people.

The growth of the Refuge System will be guided by the following priorities:

See the Strategic Growth Policy

For more information visit Strategic Growth

The U.N. Secretary-General has called climate change and sustainable development “the defining issues of our time,” and the President of the United States has said “the baseline fact of climate change is not something we can afford to deny.” In line with that sense of urgency and inspired by its Conserving the Future vision, the Refuge System is addressing climate change in myriad ways.
Planning for Climate Change on the National Wildlife Refuge

A publication completed in March combines those two notions into one practical primer for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. It is designed to help employees weave climate change adaptation, mitigation and engagement strategies into comprehensive conservation plans (CCPs), habitat management plans, land protection plans and landscape conservation design formats.

Climate Change Communications and Engagement Strategy for the National Wildlife Refuge System

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Natural Resource Management

A toolbox of methods and case studies for assessing the vulnerability of individual species, habitats, landscapes, ecosystems and other resources to climate change.

Biological Carbon Sequestration Accomplishments Report: Tracking Service Success on Refuges

Biological carbon sequestration can be an important tool for wildlife habitat creation and restoration. By building on opportunities and funding for sequestration activities, the Service can provide conservation gains through restoration and land protection while simultaneously reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This new report presents a compendium of carbon sequestration management and research activities on Refuge System lands and waters from 2009-2013.

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Conserving the Future Tools
We are a science-based organization. We subscribe to the highest standards of scientific integrity and reflect this commitment in the design, delivery and evaluation of all our work.
American society is more ethnically and socially diverse (2010 U.S. Census data) than any other time in history, and this diversity will only increase into the future. The National Wildlife Refuge System must also evolve to better serve this diverse public by meeting them where they are.
The vision outlines a path to deliberately developing a diverse, inclusive, competent and caring workforce that will commit to conservation, embrace the responsibility of public service, and succeed in realizing this in effective, efficient and innovative ways.