Draft Strategic Growth Policy for the National Wildlife Refuge System
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose a policy to implement a strategic approach to the growth of the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System, System). The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, requires that we ``plan and direct the continued growth of the System in a manner that is best designed to accomplish the mission of the System.'' This draft policy instructs the Refuge System to focus its protection measures on priority conservation features in order to ensure that our limited resources are directed to make the greatest contribution to the conservation of species in a strategic, cost-effective, and transparent manner. It ensures the growth of the System reflects our vision towards managing functional landscapes, enhancing our scientific rigor, improving our effectiveness, and involving our partners and the American people. We propose to incorporate this draft policy as Part 602, chapter 5 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual.