Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced a draft
vision plan to guide the growth and management of the National
Wildlife Refuge System. The draft document, developed by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge Association,
articulates a 10-year vision for the Refuge System.
Salazar also announced the launching of an open, online process to
solicit citizens’ ideas
for the 10-year growth and management refuge plan.
The draft document, entitled Conserving the Future: Wildlife
Refuges and the Next Generation, offers nearly 100 draft
recommendations to protect and improve the world’s premier system
of public lands and water set aside to conserve America’s fish,
wildlife and plants for the continuing benefit of the American
people. Starting today, the draft document will be available for
public comment until Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
“The National Wildlife Refuge System is one of the crown jewels
of our conservation efforts and we must ensure that the System has
the tools and vision to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” Salazar
said. “I encourage all Americans to participate in the Conserving
the Future process and to voice their ideas about the future
priorities and management of our national wildlife refuges.”
There are 553 national wildlife refuges with at least one in
every state and U.S. territory. Spanning more than 150 million
acres of land and water, the Refuge System conserves wildlife
habitat for hundreds of animal and plant species and includes more
than 20 million acres of designated wilderness. The last time a
vision statement was articulated for the System was 1999.
Among the draft vision’s recommendations
To engage youth in an array of work and volunteer
To review the Appropriate Use Policy, so a wider variety of
nature-based experiences may be possible;
Within the next 10 years, to increase the number of minorities and
people with disabilities who work for the Refuge System, in part by
reaching high school and college youth from diverse communities and
exposing them to Service conservation careers.
To develop a five-year plan to “green” the Refuge System;
To encourage a ‘Friends’ group for every staffed refuge; there are
now about 230 Friends groups;
To develop standards for credibility, efficiency and consistent
application of science in planning and management;
Working with state fish and wildlife agencies, to prepare a
strategy to double youth participation in hunting and fishing by
2020, paying special attention to individuals of all ages with
A website, http://americaswildlife.org, has been created to
gather comments and ideas. A refined vision document reflecting the
comments and ideas received online is expected to be published in