From Words to Action: The Impact and Legal Status of the 2006 National Wildlife Refuge System Management Policies
61 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2006 Last revised: 29 Jan 2018
Date Written: November 19, 2006
On June 26, 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued three new final policies governing the conservation of the national wildlife refuge system. These new agency manual provisions nearly complete an implementation project that began shortly after Congress enacted an organic statute in 1997 for management of the refuges. This article briefly reviews the significance of the 1997 legislation and places the new policies in the context of the statutory framework. It then discusses the most important aspects of the policies in terms of both practical refuge management and broader trends in natural resources law. The article evaluates the legal status of the policies with a special focus on whether the judiciary would bind the FWS to follow them. The article concludes with suggestions for the next round of FWS policymaking for refuge conservation.
Keywords: wildlife refuges, Fish and Wildlife Service, public lands, conservation, ecosystem management
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