Problems With Incompatible Uses on National Wildlife Refuges

T-RCED-89-61: Published: Sep 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) management of national wildlife refuges, focusing on incompatible secondary uses. GAO found that: (1) almost all refuges hosted secondary uses, including recreational, economic, and military activities; (2) at least one harmful secondary activity occurs on nearly 60 percent of the refuges; (3) although FWS did not identify each refuge's wildlife enhancement and production potential, officials believe that the consequences of harmful secondary uses were substantial; (4) external pressures and limitations in FWS jurisdiction over refuge resources have caused FWS to allow harmful secondary uses; and (5) FWS should take corrective management action to ensure that secondary uses are compatible with the primary purpose of conserving wildlife and to ensure that refuges use available resources effectively.

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