Writing refuge management goals and objectives: a handbook

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Goals and objectives are the unifying elements of successful refuge management. They identify and focus management priorities, provide a context for resolving issues, guide specific projects, provide rationale for decisions, and offer a defensible link among management actions, refuge purpose(s), Service policy, and the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) mission. Pursuant to Refuge Planning Policy (602 FW 1, 3, 4), this handbook offers guidance on how to write goals and objectives for national wildlife refuges and provides counsel on their development. While the handbook specifically addresses biology and visitor services, you can also utilize this guidance when developing goals and objectives for other refuge programs.

Several assumptions are basic to this handbook. The handbook focuses on the mechanics of writing sound goals and objectives. Detailed guidance on what information to consider, collect, interpret, and synthesize into goals and objectives is beyond the scope of this handbook. It views a vision statement as the synthesis of a refuge’s purpose(s), the Refuge System mission and goals, and other biological, legal, and social concerns in which the refuge has a role. It also assumes a familiarity with the hierarchical nature of planning and where, within a planning process, the writing of goals and objectives occurs.

This guidance applies to conceptual management plans, comprehensive conservation plans (CCPs), step-down management plans (e.g., habitat management, visitor services, fire management), or any other planning document incorporating goals and objectives, including strategic documents developed under the Government Performance and Results Act. We intend this guidance for use by an internal audience tasked with writing refuge goals and objectives, primarily refuge managers, biologists, visitor services specialists, planners, and other members of refuge planning teams. Still, it recognizes that we should write goals and objectives so that interested members of the public can understand them, to the extent this does not jeopardize the technical accuracy or reduce the inclusion of necessary information. The terminology and definitions used in this handbook are widely accepted in the planning field and are not inconsistent with more recent application in strategic planning. Perhaps most important, the handbook presumes all goals and objectives must further the specific purpose(s) of the refuge and the broader mission of the Refuge System, as well as be consistent with Refuge Planning Policy and any other relevant Service policy and directives.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Writing refuge management goals and objectives: a handbook
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 30 p.
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