Our Mission

Founded in 1975, the Refuge Association’s mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect and enhance the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries.

Our Work

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is a non-profit exclusively focused on protecting and promoting the 850-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation.

Our work is largely focused in Washington, DC.  We vigilantly watch for policies and legislation that undermine the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System, while advocating for efforts that advance wildlife conservation.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association addresses Refuge System funding, management, and strategic growth, while also promoting programs that maximize the system’s conservation impact.


The National Wildlife Refuge Association is the only non-profit exclusively focused on protecting and promoting the 850 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation.
— Carl Woodward, Board Chair

What We've Achieved

  • Appropriations levels for the Refuge System are steadily increasing. Due to our advocacy, the House has recommended a $26 million increase for Refuge System funding for FY2020, with the priorities we outlined due for extra boosts in funding.

  • In 2018, the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act was signed into law, to reauthorize the Volunteer and Community Partnership Act. Our staff wrote with this bill with our Hill champs, testified on its behalf, and shepherded its passage into law.

  • A judge in Alaska recently ruled favorably in our lawsuit regarding the Trump Administration’s attempt to build a road through the Ramsar-designated wetlands of the Izembek NWR. The judge ruled their plans were illegal, and nullified the Exchange Agreement.

  • A judge in North Carolina sided with us regarding our lawsuit defending our 2015 settlement agreement with the state of North Carolina regarding the Bonner Bridge replacement and the Pea Island NWR.


Our Goals

Build a Strong Constituency for Wildlife

  • We rally together refuge advocates, birders, hunters, anglers, ranchers, students and other conservation nonprofits to create a collective voice for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

  • We cooperate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help staff accomplish an ambitious conservation mission for the benefit of the American public by protecting endangered species, biological diversity and all the wildlife who call the National Wildlife Refuge System home.

  • The Refuge Association works to build and grow a comprehensive grassroots network of advocates that will lend their voices to support America’s wildlife refuges and wildlife conservation on local, regional and national levels.

  • The Refuge Association mobilizes thousands of refuge advocates to tackle the challenges facing the National Wildlife Refuge System.

  • Through partnerships and advocacy we generate support for wildlife refuges and the National Wildlife Refuge System as a whole.

Give Wildlife a Voice on Capitol Hill

  • We vigilantly oppose policies and legislation that undermine the integrity of the Refuge System, while advocating for efforts that advance wildlife conservation.

  • The Refuge Association focuses on National Wildlife Refuge System funding, while also promoting programs that help maximize the system’s conservation impact.

Protect the Integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System

  • From manatees swimming in warm Florida waters to the pronghorn of the Great Basin, wildlife in America is threatened by habitat loss and human encroachment near national wildlife refuges. We believe that conservation cannot be confined to lines on a map or a refuge “box.”

Read our annual report

Our Annual Report

Financials

Click here to view our Public Form 990