Strategic Habitat Conservation
Conserving the Nature of America


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About Us

Refuge employee, Rachel Cliche, gently handles a Canada warbler for a photo shoot. Credit: Ryan Hagerty / USFWS
Refuge employee, Rachel Cliche, gently handles a Canada warbler for a photo shoot. Credit: Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

As an agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service traces its origins to a point nearly two decades before the closing of the American Frontier. In 1871, with the establishment of the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries, the idea of fish and wildlife conservation as a right and proper federal government endeavor found its first public expression. That idea framed our beginning, and from the beginning there was change. At the dawn of the 20th century, leaders solidified the notion of conservation as a fundamental public service, providing a powerful vision of public trust that would guide development of the nation’s private, state, tribal and federal conservation infrastructure. Soon thereafter, in the midst of the first global conflict, we would enter into a treaty with Great Britain for the conservation of migratory birds. And later, from the social, economic and ecological turmoil of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, other visionary commitments would emerge: secure funding to build state capacities and reestablish depleted populations of wildlife; a collaborative system to regulate the hunting of migratory waterfowl on continental scales; a system of national wildlife refuges; the Endangered Species Act; and many others. Alongside our state and other conservation partners we have proudly met the 20th century’s conservation challenges. Our charge now is to move beyond our past success and find new and innovative ways to deal with the emerging challenges in the 21st Century.

-- Conservation in Transition: Leading Change in the 21st Century


FWS Conservation Principles:



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Additional Resources:

FWS Regional Sites:

Region 1: Pacific

Region 2: Southwest

Region 3: Midwest

Region 4: Southeast

Region 5: Northeast

Region 6: Mountain-Prairie

Region 7: Alaska

Region 8: Pacific Southwest

Region 9: Headquarters

SHC Sharepoint Portal (FWS and DOI employees only)


Last updated: November 8, 2012

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