The mission of the Refuge is to preserve, conserve, and restore biodiversity and biological integrity for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. Big Oaks Refuge provides food and shelter for a wide variety of plant and animal species. More than 200 species of birds and 46 species of mammals are found on the refuge. Stream corridors and forested areas on Big Oaks Refuge provide excellent habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat and federally threatened northern long-eared bat, and both species use the refuge for summer foraging, roosting, and for rearing young. More than 400 pairs of state-endangered Henslow’s sparrows are estimated to breed in the large grasslands of Big Oaks NWR. The refuge has been designated as a “Globally Important Bird Area” because of its value to Henslow’s sparrows and other migratory birds. Bald eagles nest on the refuge and golden eagles also winter on the refuge.
The Refuge has begun work on its Comprehensive Conservation Plan, or CCP. The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving refuge conditions—including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP. The Service’s preferred alternative for managing the refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well.