Wildlife Refuges
Conserving the Nature of America in the Southwest Region
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Hydrologist Darrell Kundargi, Bitter Lake NWR. Credit: USFWS

Welcome to the Division of Water Resources

Vision Statement:

The Division of Water Resources focuses on Refuge water resource protection through strategic application of science, legal capacity, and data acquisition for enhanced habitat and species management on a local and regional spatial scale.  Furthering these goals is achieved through strong partnerships, education and effective communication. 

Water Rights / Water Law:

A vital function of the Division of Water Resources is the identification, protection and enhancement of the FWS's legal rights to use and divert water within the four states of Region 2.  As captured by the old saw "whiskey's for drinking, but water's for fighting", agency personnel must be vigilant to ensure our water resources are legally protected, work that often involves close coordination with the DOI Office of the Solicitor.

Water Measurement/Gaging:

An equally vital function is the collection of hydrologic information to inform and protect the refuge system's water-related resources. The Division implements USGS protocols in the collection of a broad array of data largely related to water quantity and water quality information.  As water routinely ranks as a top priority concern for the Service, the collection of robust field data is a key skill set for the Division to posses to meet NWRS needs. (Darrell Kundargi is the main point of contact for the Division's Monitoring Program.)

Photo of Service member collection water data Photo of a service member collection water data
Service member collecting water data on Bosque Del Apache NWR. Photo Credit: USFWS

Science Support/Restoration/Studies:

From its inception in the late 1980's, the Division of Water Resources has provided refuges with a wide array of science-support services, running the gamut from technical planning for restoration projects, to development of answers for water management issues faced by refuges.  A strong illustration of this is seen in the Wetland Review process, which Paul Tashjian has provided a decade of leadership on, advocating the use of key physical processes as a primary guide towards reaching a refuge's biologically-based objectives.






Last updated: April 13, 2021