The collaborative planning process used to develop the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) helped forge relationships and promote open communication necessary to find common ground. Three core principles rooted the refuge’s 15-year Comprehensive Conservation Plan:
- Ongoing collaborative approach to implementation, built around partnerships and a shared commitment to the long-term sustainability of the refuge and the larger Harney Basin’s wildlife, habitats and human communities;
- Commitment to science-based, active adaptive management, driven by monitoring and evaluation of results, with refuge decision making that is transparent and informed by stakeholder involvement;
- Focus on aquatic ecosystem health and the subsequent benefits to waterways, wetlands, and upland habitats.
Crafting A Shared Mission
As part of the collaborative planning process used to develop its 15-year management plan, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge adopted the following mission statement:
Together with our surrounding community, partners, friends, staff, and all those who cherish this unique place where desert and water meet . . .
- Malheur National Wildlife Refuge commits to care for, conserve, and enhance the health of the Malheur Lake, Blitzen Valley, and Double-O units, including the playas, dunes, marshes, rivers, meadows, and ponds that are all part of this landscape.
- We will observe nature and manage in harmony with ecological forces, while recognizing and maintaining the refuge as a key anchor for migratory and breeding waterfowl, water birds, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.
- We will work diligently to improve the health of the land and water, reducing the destructive impact of carp and other invasive species, addressing imbalances in floodplain function, and restoring the original abundance of fish and wildlife for which Malheur is famous.
- We will celebrate and welcome our visitors, noting and protecting the features that draw people again and again—the expansive landscape, the plenitude and diversity of wildlife, and the signs of a timeless history.
- We will allow and enhance opportunities to experience abundance, solitude, and renewal, for people birding, fishing, hunting, and learning on the refuge. In respect to our ancestors and their fortitude, we will carefully preserve the legacies they left behind on this land.
- Collaboration with our neighbors, partners, and friends will be a critical cornerstone in our day to day work; we recognize that nature crosses our boundaries and we can be successful only in partnership. We recognize that our activities are inextricably linked to the health of the local economy. We commit to environmental stewardship and sustainable management. We commit to learn from our efforts, successes, and failures; to be humble about what we know; and to continuously strive for greater understanding in our stewardship of this remarkable place.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's Priority Goals
Together, the group identified 14 core goals to deliver on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s mission:
- Enhance aquatic health and habitat conditions essential to the conservation of the flora and fauna that depend on Malheur Lake and associated water bodies.
- Protect, maintain, and rehabilitate river banks and riparian habitats to conditions essential for the conservation of native fish and wildlife species.
- Protect, maintain, and rehabilitate riparian habitats to conditions essential for the conservation of wildlife species.
- Enhance, protect, and/or maintain primary habitats essential to the conservation of a diversity of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife species.
- Enhance and maintain rare and unique habitats.
- Visitors will be welcomed and can safely experience the refuge’s outstanding features – diversity of wildlife, signs of earlier inhabitants, scenic landscapes, and solitude. As a result, visitors will leave the refuge with a memorable experience that fosters a connection between themselves and nature, and an appreciation of Malheur’s unique resources.
- Connect the hearts and minds of visitors with places and resources the refuge protects, and enlighten visitors’ experiences with an understanding, appreciation, and knowledge about the historic and natural resources, and the importance of conservation and stewardship.
- Provide reasonable challenges and opportunities, and provide uncrowded conditions for the hunting and fishing public.
- Initiate and nurture relationships to build support of the refuge, and fortify refuge programs and activities to achieve the refuge's purpose and goals.
- Manage prehistoric and historic cultural resources for their educational, scientific, and cultural values for the benefit of present and future generations of refuge users and for the communities that are connected to these resources.
- Identify and protect prehistoric and historic resources on the refuge that are eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Manage the refuge’s paleontological resources for their educational and scientific values for the benefit of present and future generations of refuge users.
- Gather scientific information (surveys, research, and assessments) to support adaptive management decisions.
- Integrating our conservation-based mission with the best available science, the refuge will become a leader in advancing best design and management practices for innovative, sustainable refuge and community development opportunities.