The publication entitled, Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s bold, new vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Service released Conserving the Future as the culmination of 18 months of study and public conversation about conservation and the future of the Refuge System.

Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation

(Click on the link above to download the vision document, download just the Executive Summary, or read a text-only version of the recommendations in the vision)

This 21st-century strategic vision for the Refuge System acknowledges the broad social, political, and economic changes that have made habitat conservation more challenging since the agency last set comprehensive goals in 1999. In the intervening 12 years, the new vision states the nation’s population has grown “larger and more diverse … and the landscape for conservation has changed—there is less undeveloped land, more invasive species, and we are experiencing the impacts of a changing climate.”

The Process

In an extraordinarily transparent process, the Service launched an online conversation from this website about conservation starting in the fall of 2010 to distill the new Refuge System vision. The National Wildlife Refuge Association continues to maintain this site at as a hub for activities and information about implementation of the Conserving the Future vision.

The final recommendations incorporate extensive suggestions from the public, NGOs, state wildlife agencies, and employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Implementation is expected to be largely complete in about five years.

Learn more about this process and see previous drafts of the vision document.


Cover of the Implementation Plan for Conserving the Future.