What We Do
Grounded in sound science, Fisheries and Habitat Conservation delivers on-the-ground results within communities and across landscapes, in partnership with States, Tribes, private individuals, other Service programs, nongovernmental organizations, and public agencies. FHC core values and activities reflect its unified approach to conservation, while delivering unique capabilities to support the Service Mission and all Service programs. Our collaborative approach to conserving species and their habitats, and solving resource problems, translates into restoring and maintaining ecological integrity for future generations. FHC fosters employee excellence, ensuring a talented and diverse workforce that is well-trained and fully prepared to tackle resource issues and needs.
When it comes to conservation, Fisheries and Habitat Conservation comprises almost 25% of the Service's operations budget (~$268 million) and workforce (~1480 FTE). FHC biologists and scientists deliver conservation in every state from the local to the landscape level through diverse and essential programs.
- Climate Change and Fisheries and Habitat Conservation - Climate change is a very real concern for all natural resource managers. As global temperatures increase, sea ice melts, and sea level rises, species will face rapidly changing environments. The Division of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation is already working to address climate change, specifically in terms of aquatic resources and habitat.
- The Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation Program – Consists of approximately 800 employees located nationwide in 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 65 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices (including the Alaska Conservation Genetics Laboratory), one Historic National Fish Hatchery, 9 Fish Health Centers, 7 Fish Technology Centers, the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership, and the Aquatic Invasive Species and Sikes Act programs. The program provides a network unique in its geographic range, array of technical and managerial capabilities, and ability to work across political and program boundaries, and contributes to maintaining sustainable native populations and recovering threatened and endangered populations by preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, monitoring habitats to determine the distribution of invasive species, rapidly responding to new invasions, and controlling established invaders.
- The Environmental Contaminants Program - Studies contaminant effects on fish and wildlife. Contaminants specialists are stationed at more than 75 locations around the country. Service contaminants specialists are on the front lines in the fight against pollution. They specialize in detecting toxic chemicals; addressing their effects; preventing harm to fish, wildlife and their habitats; and removing toxic chemicals and restoring habitat when prevention isn't possible. Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program they help restore natural resources injured by contamination. The Contaminant Program's operations are integrated into all other Service activities and the Service's contaminants specialists often work in partnership with other agencies and organizations which have come to rely on their expertise.
- The Habitat and Resource Conservation Program - Provides leadership, technical expertise and financial assistance in landscape level conservation and restoration of habitat for fish and wildlife. Through providing assistance early in project planning, the Service safeguards public and environmental health in the protectionn of landscapes and watersheds for future generations. The primary Habitat and Resource Conservation programs, most of which are legislatively mandated are: Conservation Planning Assistance, Coastal Barrier Resources, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Coastal Program, National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants, and National Wetlands Inventory.