The National Wildlife Refuge System coordinates an interdisciplinary science team to inform planning and management decisions for frontline managers. By integrating findings from numerous scientific fields — including wildlife biology, air quality and human dimensions — managers can better address complex management challenges. These science programs are administered by the Natural Resource Program Center in Fort Collins, Colorado — where many federal agencies share research operations and facilities.

What We Do

Our Services

Wildlife Health

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors wildlife health and conducts disease surveillance, response and management. Experts help curb the spread of wildlife disease that threatens wildlife, people and domestic animals. Specialists track the health of birds, ungulates (hooved animals such as bison, deer and elk) and other species; they also monitor harmful algal blooms and animal diseases that could jump to humans. Experts provide training and technical assistance, conduct field investigations of disease and facilitate lab testing. They aid in policy development, research support and veterinary controlled drugs acquisition and use.

Inventory and Monitoring

Researchers assess the status and trends of refuge lands, waters, plants and wildlife, along with their responses to management actions. The Natural Resource Program Center coordinates the design, collection, retention and analysis of this scientific data. Rigorous standards ensure that the Refuge System is a key contributor to the larger body of scientific knowledge.

Visitors take a mid-winter hike along the Shorebird Loop Trail

Human Dimensions

Social scientists help refuge managers factor local attitudes and human perspectives into conservation planning to improve the likelihood of good outcomes.

Air Quality

Experts work to ensure that refuge lands and waters meet the standards of the Clean Air Act and other applicable laws on air quality.

Water Resources

Good management of vital water resources at refuges involves knowledge of complex water laws and up-to-date data on water quantity and quality.

Resources for Scientists

Data Repositories

Publicly available national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
data sets and documents maintained in ServCat include Comprehensive Conservation Plans, Annual Narrative Reports, Water Resource Inventory and Assessment Reports, and geospatial data. You can also view U.S. Geological Survey data releases in Science Base and the federal government’s Open Data dashboards.

Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS ECOS
Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) serves a variety of reports related to FWS Threatened and Endangered Species.

Learn more about ECOS
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This gateway website includes conservation plans, species reports, fish health survey database, and wildlife and contaminants mapper.