Refuge Issues

The Refuge Association is the leading defender of America’s most important program for protecting wildlife habitat–the National Wildlife Refuge System. Our staff in Washington, D.C., and around the country monitors legislation, policy and other activities that affect refuges. From ensuring that the Refuge System has sufficient funding to battling legislation that could undermine a refuge’s integrity, the Refuge Association works to safeguard these natural treasures and the wild creatures that depend on them. Learn more about our top-priority issues and how you can help:

Polar Bear, Arctic NWR, AK, FWS
Polar Bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska | Credit: USFWS


At nearly 20 million acres, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest intact ecosystems in the United States–and the world. With its unique wildlife, natural ecological processes and cultural heritage, it is the crown jewel of the Refuge System and vital to protecting America’s wildlife.

Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska) provides important denning habitat for brown bears.

Izembek – Fighting the Road to Nowhere

In 2009, Congress authorized the construction of a taxpayer-funded multimillion-dollar road through the ecological heart of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The proposed road would bisect the federally designated wilderness in the center of the refuge and destroy this fragile ecosystem.

Coral Reef | Credit: USFWS

Marine Refuge Resources

Few people realize that the Refuge System safeguards millions of acres of marine habitat, including most of our nation’s coral reefs. But pollution, overfishing and other threats jeopardize the integrity of some of our most remote and biologically diverse refuges.

Bison | Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

Additional Threats

The Refuge Association is working to safeguard wild havens and their wild inhabitants from actions that would undermine the integrity or effectiveness of the Refuge System. Learn more about these threats and our work in support of the National Elk Refuge and the National Bison Range.

Swan Lake NWR, MO, FWS
The CCP process provides an opportunity for the public to engage (Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri | Credit: USFWS)

Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP)

CCPs guide the management of each refuge and help set long-term conservation and public-use goals. These plans are updated regularly, giving the public an opportunity to help set the direction of individual refuges and ensure that wildlife conservation remains a priority.


Invasive Species, Purple Loosestrife, Montezuma NWR, NY, FWS
Invasive Species, Purple Loosestrife, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, N.Y. | Credit: USFWS

Invasive Species

Hundreds of varieties of alien plants, animals and pathogens have found a foothold on America’s shores. These invasive species have quietly become one of the top threats to our refuges and the native species that live there. Non-native, invasive species are not only an ecological menace, but an economic one–costing our country billions of dollars a year.

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