St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Comprehensive Conservation Plan:

Comprehensive Conservation Plans Covers

Comprehensive Conservation Plan -- ( pdf -- 23.45MB) ( word document --56.79MB)

Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP)

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 requires each National Wildlife Refuge to prepare a comprehensive plan (CCP) by the year 2012. Planning for the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge began in 2000 and concluded in 2006 with the adoption of a CCP. The plan addresses the management of plant species, wildlife and fish populations, endangered species, cultural resources, contaminants, public use, education, research and partnerships.

Generally, a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP):

  • Is a 15-year refuge management plan;
  • Serves the purposes of the refuge;
  • Describes the desired future conditions of a refuge;
  • Provides consistency and continuity; and
  • Provides long-range guidance and management direction for a refuge manager.

The multi-year CCP Process includes the following steps:

  • Conduct preplanning (research and analysis of needs);
  • Conduct public scoping (obtain public input on priority issues);
  • Prepare a Draft CCP/EA report;
  • Conduct an internal review of the report with Service personnel;
  • Hold a public review and comment period on the Draft CCP/EA;
  • Create a Final CCP;
  • Fulfill all applicable National Environmental Policy Act requirements;
  • Implement and Monitor the CCP over 15 years; and
  • Review & revise the Plan within 15 years.

Purposes of the Plan

  • Provide a clear statement regarding the management of the refuge for the next 15 years;
  • Provide refuge neighbors, visitors, the public, and government officials with an understanding of refuge management actions on and around the refuge;
  • Ensure that the refuge's management actions are consistent with the mandates of the National Wildlife Refuge System; and
  • Provide a basis for the development of budget requests on the refuge's operational, maintenance, and capitol improvement needs.


St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 540 refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This system is a network of United States lands and waters managed specifically for wildlife and is administered by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 states the Refuge system mission is to "administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans".

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Vision Statement

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge will be a model for conserving the natural diversity of plants and animals, preserving cultural resources and providing opportunities for research, environmental education and quality outdoor recreation. The refuge will link other North Florida wildlands with vital habitat for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds and resident wildlife, and it will protect the rich resources of Apalachee Bay. Conservation of the natural health and beauty of the refuge is our promise to the community and future generations.

Purposes of the Refuge

The purposes of the refuge are tied to the Executive Orders and legislative acts during establishment and expansion.

"... a refuge and breeding ground for wild animals and birds."

"...for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds."

"...for (1) incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, (2) the protection of natural resources, and (3) the conservation of endangered species or threatened species."

Last updated: August 17, 2010