U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- What Are Our Trust Responsibilities to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes?
The Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest Region recently developed a "Tribal Trust" video as a tool to help our employees better understand our trust responsibilities as a federal agency for working with Indian Tribes.
Click here to view the three parts to this important video.
- Regional Overview (Fact Sheets)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. It is the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is management of these important natural resources for the American public. The Service also helps ensure a healthy environment for people through its work benefiting wildlife, and by providing opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors and our shared natural heritage.
The Service is responsible for implementing and enforcing some of our Nation’s most important environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Marine Mammal Protection.
Regions: > Pacific (1) ~ Southwest (2) ~ Midwest (3) ~ Southeast (4) ~ Northeast (5) ~ Mountain-Prairie (6) ~ Alaska (7) ~ Calif/Nevada (8)
- Agency Overview -
Conserving the Nature
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. It is the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is management of these important natural resources for the American public. Read More.
- Bald Eagle
The bald eagle is truly an all- American
bird it ranges over most of the
continent, from the northern reaches of
Alaska and Canada down to northern
While our national symbol was in
danger of extinction throughout most
of its range 30 years ago, the bald eagle
has made a tremendous comeback,
its populations greatly improving in
numbers, productivity, and security in
recent years. Read More.
- Bald Eagles (Refuges
Listed by National Wildlife Refuge name and state. Read More.
- Birds Of Conservation Concern
The 1988 amendment to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act mandates the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) to “identify species, subspecies, and populations of all migratory
nongame birds that, without additional conservation actions, are likely to become candidates for
listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973.” Birds of Conservation Concern 2008
is the most recent effort to carry out this mandate. Read More.
Nature of America
Following a tradition of conservation
leadership that is now in its second
century, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service plays a pivotal role in
safeguarding some of this nation’s
rich natural resources. It is a
challenge that is growing more
complex every year. You can become
one of the employees who bridge the
gap between our storied past and our
evolving future. Read More.
- Cultural Resources in the FWS
Fish & Wildlife Service lands and facilities are located in every State and several territories. The effects of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s programs on the future of our nation’s resources are potentially enormous. While the Service is recognized clearly as a leader in preserving wildlife and habitat, most people are unaware of the agency’s potential to protect significant aspects of our nation’s cultural legacy as well. Read More. PLUS::>> Access more information on Service Cultural Resources.
Species Act of 1973 (History)
Congress passed the Endangered
Species Preservation Act in 1966,
providing a means for listing native
animal species as endangered and
giving them limited protection. The
Departments of Interior, Agriculture,
and Defense were to seek to protect
listed species, and, insofar as consistent
with their primary purposes, preserve
the habitats of such species. The Act
also authorized the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to acquire land as
habitat for endangered species. Read More.
- Endangered Species Coloring Book
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes that you enjoy our
2004/2005 endangered species coloring book.
It has pictures to color and stories to read. You can test your
endangered species know-how by taking the quiz inside the back
cover. Read More.
- Climate Change (Strategic Plan for Responding to
Over its 139-year history, the Service
has faced every challenge to the
future of the nation’s fish and wildlife
heritage head-on. As an agency
within the Department of the Interior
(Department), we have attracted to our
ranks those individuals whose personal
commitment to conserving, protecting,
and enhancing America’s fish and
wildlife resources is matched by their
professional resolve to do whatever it
takes to accomplish that mission. Read More.
- Conservation Handbook - Strategic Habitat
This guide describes the framework for strategic habitat conservation (SHC) enabling the efficient conservation of wildlife populations through habitat management, which is defined as protection of existing habitat, and habitat restoration or manipulation. It supplements the description of the SHC framework in the final report of the National Ecological Assessment Team (NEAT), accepted by the Service Directorate and USGS Executive Leadership Team in,2006. Read More.
- Conservation History Journal (2010)
One of the great joys of being the
Historian for the Fish and Wildlife
Service is being privy to the amazing
personal histories that are the real
history of the agency. One of the
frustrations of this job is not being
able to share those histories with
everyone else. This second issue of
Conservation History is one small
step for history and one giant step
forward in sharing these histories
with our own personnel—both active and (actively) retired. I think
this particular issue highlights the diversity of our history tapestry. Read More.
- Conservation Legacy
... The partnership that was forged 70 years ago between the State fish and wildlife agencies, industry and the USFWS by the creation of the Federal Assistance programs literally changed America’s wildlife resources forever. All over America, wildlife is thriving today thanks, in part, to the efforts of this State-Federal-Industry partnership. Read More.
- Conservation in Transition - Leading Change in the 21st Century
American fish and wildlife conservation
took root and flourished during
the 20th century, organizing around
component pieces of the ecological
landscape — land, water, coast,
ocean, forest, range, fish and wildlife.
Conservation professions and
organizations emerged from these
demarcations and have served well in
facing issues that are largely local and
confined within jurisdictional boundaries. Read More.
A Proud Past
A Bright Future
population growth, and overharvest
degraded our Nation’s water quality
and fisheries resources. By the mid-
1800’s, fishermen recognized a
decline in fish populations. In 1871,
Spencer Fullerton Baird, Assistant
Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution, wrote to Congress urging
Federal protection for the Nation’s
fisheries. Baird warned that the“time is not far distant” that America
will lose fish as a source of “subsistence and support,” a“calamity that would involve a vast
number of evils in its train.” Read More.
- Conserving the Future
In the summer of 2010, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees began the process of charting the course for the National Wildlife Refuge System’s next decade. Their charge was to build on the foundation of the System’s last strategic plan, Fulfilling the Promise, and create an updated vision for the future of America’s national wildlife refuges. Read More.
Eagle Conservation Plan
The Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance Module 1: Wind Energy Development (Draft
Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance) provides recommendations for the development of Eagle
Conservation Plans (ECPs) to support issuance of eagle programmatic take permits for wind
facilities. Read More.
- Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a Final Eagle Permit Rule (Eagle Permit Rule) on September 11, 2009 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) authorizing limited issuance of permits to take Bald and Golden eagles where the take is associated with but not the purpose of an otherwise lawful activity. The Eagle Protection Act has prohibited take of Bald Eagles since 1940 and Golden Eagles since 1962. Read More.
- Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance Questions and Answers
A series of questions and answers regarding this subject. Read More.
- Eddies: Reflections on Fisheries Conservation
Eddies seeks to inform its readers of the work – past, present, and future – of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation. Each issue has several feature stories and five regular departments. Assistant Director, Bryan Arroyo, leads each issue with his Headwaters column. Watermarks cover the newsy and noteworthy, including a column by the curator at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. If you like Antiques Road Show, you’ll like Randi Smith’s stories. Read More.
- ESA Basics -
More Than 30 Years of Conserving
The purpose of the ESA is to protect
and recover imperiled species and the
ecosystems upon which they depend.
It is administered by the Interior
Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) and the Commerce
Department’s National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS). The FWS has
primary responsibility for terrestrial
and freshwater organisms, while the
responsibilities of NMFS are mainly
marine wildlife such as whales and
anadromous fish such as salmon. Read More.
- Endangered Species (
Our nation is home to an incredible diversity of plants, animals, and ecosystems. During the past 300 years, however, many native plants and animals have become extinct, and today many more species face the same fate as their habitats are threatened and their populations declining. In 1973, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to address the loss of species and their habitats and to safeguard for all citizens our heritage of fish, wildlife, and plants. Read More.
- Endangered Species Bulletin
I am delighted to introduce this edition
of the Endangered Species Bulletin
highlighting the important work of Indian
tribal governments in helping to protect,
preserve, and restore threatened and
endangered Species. In these pages,
you will find stories about how Native
Americans from across the United States
are integrating their unique cultural and
traditional values with modern biological
management principles to make a difference
It is critical that the Fish and Wildlife
Service, as a world leader in species and
habitat conservation, continue to seek out
and support many and diverse partners.
Indian Country offers tremendous collaborative
opportunities for the Service in
a variety of ways. Read More.
Species (Why Save ..)
Since life began on Earth,
countless creatures have
come and gone, rendered
extinct by naturally
changing physical and
Since extinction is part
of the natural order, and
if many other species
remain, some people ask:“Why save endangered
species? Why should we
spend money and effort
to conserve them?
How do we benefit?” Read More.
- Environmental Contaminants Program
The Environmental Contaminants (EC) Program provides contaminants expertise to all Service programs including the National Wildlife Refuge System, Endangered Species, Migratory Birds, Fisheries, Marine Mammals, International Affairs, and Law Enforcement. EC Biologists use their expertise to work regularly as partners with other agencies and organizations. Read More.
- Fish Passage Program - Reconnecting Aquatic Species to Historical Habitats
Launched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999, the National Fish Passage Program (NFPP) is a voluntary, non-regulatory effort that provides financial and technical assistance to remove or bypass artificial barriers that are impeding the movement of fish and contributing to their decline. Read More.
- Fish & Wildlife Conservation Offices -
There are almost 400 aquatic species in the United States that either have, or need, special protection in some or part of their natural or historic range. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices (FWCOs) work at the intersection between fisheries science and management, developing and using the latest techniques to tackle the nation’s most challenging issues in fisheries science, management, and conservation. Read More.
- Fisheries Conservation
There is a certain symmetry in this special issue of
Eddies, a pairing and a balance, if you will. You’ll find
something old and something new. One half of the
magazine has the normal features we’ve delivered in
each issue of Eddies, and in the other half we give you
some quick looks at work done on the ground and in the
water over the last five years. Volume 1 and Volume 2.
- Fisheries & Habitat Conservation (Program Overview)
The Fisheries and Habitat Conservation Program is unique within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its ability to apply a dual approach to natural resource management; it focuses on both helping manage species and helping to conserve their habitats. The Program relies on collaboration and joint ventures with State agencies, Tribes, private landowners, industry, other Federal agencies and the public to achieve these conservation goals. In doing so, the Program combines expertise in habitat restoration, contaminant assessment and remediation, genetics, population dynamics and management, fish culture and fish health, fish passage, invasive species management, wetlands, water development and management, instream flow and other disciplines. Read More.
- Fisheries Program - USFWS
The Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Program uses on-the-ground capabilities and technical expertise to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations. Management activities include habitat and population assessments critical for resource planning, restoration and management; providing expertise and leadership in the development of resource plans; protecting native populations from the threats of aquatic nuisance species; restoring degraded habitats and opening up fish passage. Read More.
- Golden Eagles -
Status Fact Sheet
Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis) can be found from the tundra, through grasslands, forested habitat and woodland‐brushlands, south to arid deserts, including Death Valley, California. They are aerial predators and eat small to mid‐sized reptiles, birds, and mammals up to the size of mule deer fawns and coyote pups. They also are known to scavenge and utilize carrion. Read More.
- Habitat Conservation
The value of healthy habitat is vital to well managed aquatic resources, continuing ecological, recreational, commercial, and subsistence contributions to our Nation’s prosperity. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices are committed to providing the most innovative approaches to fish habitat conservation. We apply scientific data to focus efforts on preserving high-priority watersheds and restoring critical aquatic habitat (in-stream and wetland) and re-opening fish passage. Read More.
- Habitat Conservation (Strategic)
Across the conservation community, species and habitat conservation increasingly rely on landscape approaches that integrate scientific information with management decisions. The tools and language of conservation are evolving, and using consistent and broadly understood methods will improve our ability to succeed. Recognizing the changing field of conservation, both internal and external to the FWS, the Directorate chartered a cross programmatic effort in June, 2004 to: 1) characterize current and emerging scientific habitat conservation strategies and 2) recommend unifying approaches and capacity building measures (see Appendix A). The Team, featuring a mix of FWS and USGS technical and policy experts, focused on identifying how best to prioritize and make trust resource management decisions. Read More.
- International Affairs (Program Overview)
The Service’s International Affairs program deals with private citizens, local communities, other Federal and State agencies, as well as foreign governments, and U.S. and international non-governmental organizations to promote a coordinated domestic and international strategy to protect, restore, and enhance the world’s diverse wildlife and their habitats with a focus on species of international concern. Read More.
- Interjurisdictional Fisheries Program - Fish without Borders
Fishes in rivers, coastal areas, and even some lakes, move across state and national boundaries without a second thought or glance. Because many fish travel long distances, place-based management measures do not provide adequate protection. Yukon River Chinook salmon, for example, undertake the longest migration of any salmon in the world, swimming over 1700 miles.
Consequently, Tribal councils, interstate resource management commissions, regional management councils, States, Federal agencies and countries, agree to manage multijurisdictional species through regulations developed by the jurisdictions which contain portions of the species’ habitat. Read More.
- Kids & Nature
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices (FWCOs) play an important role in connecting children with nature by providing outreach and education to families, schools, youth groups, and communities. Through environmental education and interpretive programs, FWCOs engage families and youth in conservation and management of native aquatic species and habitat with the goal of expanding conservation awareness and stewardship. Read More.
- Lake Sturgeon
Building a Nursery for Lake Sturgeon and Restoring the Great Lakes
Now in its second year, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative continues to make great strides in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes. An invaluable resource to the
United States as a source of drinking water, transportation, power, recreational opportunities and jobs, the Great Lakes remain a conservation priority for the federal government. Though a tough economic climate can jeopardize conservation priorities, research has demonstrated that the health of the Great Lakes is inseparable from the health of the U.S.
- Law Enforcement (Program Overview)
The Service’s Office of Law Enforcement’s efforts focus on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources – illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental hazards.
Its overall mission is to enforce laws that help protect wildlife here and around the world. It contributes to Service efforts to recover endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, safeguard fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote global wildlife conservation. Read More.
- Migratory Bird Program (Program Overview)
Migratory birds are among nature’s most magnificent living resources and play a significant ecological, economic, and cultural role in the U.S. and internationally. The Service is directed by Congress to ensure the perpetuation of migratory bird populations and their habitats. The Migratory Bird Program seeks to conserve migratory bird populations and associated habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring and effective population management. Read More.
- Migratory Birds - A Blueprint for the Future of
Migratory Bird Program
Strategic Plan 2004-2014
The Migratory Bird Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enjoys a rich and successful tradition.
It has been instrumental, on its own and with partners, in delivering bird conservation throughout the
hemisphere for several decades. It is a critical hub through which much is accomplished.
This strategic plan outlines the future direction of the Migratory Bird Program and how it will continue to
contribute to bird conservation in North America and around the world. Like a “blueprint” it lays out the
goals and design for a promising future for migratory birds. Read More.
- National Coastal
The National Coastal Wetlands
Conservation Grant Program (Coastal
Grants Program) was established by the
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection,
and Restoration Act (Act) of 1990. Under
this program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service provides matching grants for
acquisition, restoration, management or
enhancement of coastal wetlands.
Typically, between $18 million and $21
million in grants are awarded annually
through a nationwide competitive
process. Funding for the program comes
from excise taxes on fishing equipment
and motorboat and small engine fuels. Read More.
- National Fish Habitat Action Plan
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is a national investment strategy to
maximize the impact of conservation dollars on the ground. Under the
Action Plan, Federal, state, and privately-raised funds will be the foundation
for building regional partnerships that address the Nation’s biggest fish
habitat problems. This is the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to
treat the causes of fish habitat decline, not just the symptoms. Read More.
- National Fish Hatchery System
Established in 1871 by Congress through the creation of a U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, the National Fish Hatchery System original purpose was to provide additional domestic food fish to replace declining native fish. Cultured fish were used to replace fish that were lost from natural (drought, flood, habitat destruction) or human (over-harvest, pollution, habitat loss due to development and dam construction) influences, to establish fish populations to meet specific management needs, and to provide for the creation of new and expanded recreational fisheries opportunities. Read More.
- National Wildlife Refuge System (Program Overview)
A product over 105 years in the making, the National Wildlife Refuge System is an extensive network of lands set aside for wildlife. In addition, they provide unparalleled outdoor experiences for all Americans and help to protect a healthy environment.
Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, this network of protected lands has grown to encompass millions of acres. Read More.
The National Wildlife
Refuge System is one
of America’s greatest
stories. In its first
hundred years, it
helped save our
the American bald
eagle, from extinction
and has protected
hundreds of other wild
fish, migratory birds,
and many other
plants and animals
and the habitats that
support them. Read More.
- Partnerships - Conserving Borderline Species
In April 1997, the U.S. and Canadian governments signed a Framework to cooperate
in identifying and recovering shared species at risk. The official title is the “Framework
for Cooperation between the U.S. Department of the Interior and Environment Canada
in the Protection and Recovery of Wild Species at Risk.” The goal of the Framework is
to prevent populations of wild species shared by the United States and Canada from
becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity, through the conservation of
wildlife populations and the ecosystems on which they depend. Read More.
- Permits for Native Species -
under the Endangered Species Act
Section 10 of the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) is designed to regulate a wide
range of activities affecting plants and
animals designated as endangered or
threatened, and the habitats upon which
they depend. With some exceptions, the
ESA prohibits activities affecting these
protected species and their habitats
unless authorized by a permit from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
or the National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS). Permitted activities
are designed to be consistent with the
conservation of the species. Read More.
- Refuge Update 2011
An assortment of articles regarding the many accomplishments of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Read More.
- Subsistence Management Program
Subsistence fishing and hunting provide a large share of the food consumed in rural Alaska. The state’s rural residents harvest about 22,000 tons of wild foods each year — an average of 375 pounds per person. Fish makes up about 60 percent of this harvest. Nowhere else in the United States is there such a heavy reliance upon fish and game. Read More.
- TRACKS Newsletters - Region 6
Resource issues and events regarding tribal resource programs. Read More.
- Tribal Assistance Fact Sheets
There are 561 Federally recognized tribes in the United States, including 225 villages in Alaska. All together, there are 55.7 million acres on 304 reservations. Many Indian lands have remained untouched by conventional land use practices and therefore are islands of high quality ecosystems, attracting many sensitive species. Reservations support important fish and wildlife resources, including antelope, apache trout, bighorn sheep, bison, elk, gila trout, mule deer, Pacific salmons, sturgeon, and whitetail deer. Fact Sheet.
- Tribal Wildlife Grant and
Incentive Program -
Periodic Report, 2006
The Tribal Wildlife Grants (TWG) program was created
by Congress within the State Wildlife Grant program in
2002, setting aside $5 million to establish a competitive
tribal grant program for Federally-recognized Indian
tribes. These funds were not subject to further
requirements of the formula-based State Wildlife Grant
program. Read More. The purpose of the funding is to “provide technical
and financial assistance for the development and
implementation of programs that benefit fish and
wildlife resources and their habitat, including species
that are not hunted or fished.” Read More.
- Wetlands Conservation Act
Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with the States, the Canadian Wildlife Service, provincial
governments, and other partners, conducts breeding-ground surveys to estimate the size of duck breeding populations.
Specialized surveys track trends in the populations of other harvested migratory species such as the mourning dove and the
American woodcock. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, conducted annually on approximately 2,900 routes in the
United States and Canada by thousands of volunteers, is used to follow changes in the distribution and abundance of many
other migratory bird species utilizing wetlands and associated habitats. Read More.
- Wetlands - Status and Trends (2004~2009)
The Service prepared the Report after a two year study period and a rigorous statistical analysis and peer review. The Service is the principal Federal agency that provides information to the public on the extent and status of the Nation’s wetlands and it works with partner organizations to maintain an active Federal role in monitoring wetland habitats of the Nation. This Report is the latest in a continuous series spanning 50 years of wetland data. It represents the most comprehensive and contemporary effort to track wetlands resources on a national scale. Read More.
Laws (Fact Sheets)
This booklet is a guide
to Federal laws that
apply to the importation,
and sale of wildlife,
including live and dead
animals and animal parts and products. Read More.
- Wildlife and Sport
The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) and the partnerships it has fostered are considered among the most successful conservation efforts in the nation’s history of fish and wildlife management. The WSFR administers six major grant programs that provide funding to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies for resource management and recreation-related purposes. The WSFR also provides administrative support for other Service grant programs, including Endangered Species (Section 6), National Coastal Wetlands Conservation, and Tribal Wildlife Grants. Read More.
- Wind Energy Guidelines (Land-Based)
In response to increasing wind energy development in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in July 2003 released for public comment a set of voluntary, interim guidelines for reducing adverse effects to fish and wildlife resources from wind energy projects. After the Service reviewed the public comments, the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) established a Federal Advisory Committee to provide recommendations to revise the guidelines related to land-based wind energy facilities. Read More.
Energy Guidelines (Voluntary
The development of renewable energy is important for the future of the nation and the health of the environment. The Department of Interior is committed to facilitating the development of wind energy and other renewable resources while protecting our nation’s treasured landscapes and wildlife. Read More.
- Wind Energy Guidelines
Questions and Answers (Voluntary, Land-Based)
A series of questions and answers regarding this subject. Read More.
- Wolf Recovery in North America
Before the arrival of European settlers,
wolves ranged widely across the
continent, from coast to coast and from
Canada to Mexico. Two species are
found in North America, the gray wolf,
with its various subspecies, and the
red wolf, found in the southeastern
Wolves play an important role as
predators in the ecosystems they
inhabit. They feed primarily on large
mammals, such as deer and elk,
removing sick and injured animals
from the populations. Wolves are highly
social, living in packs and hunting
and raising young cooperatively. Read More.
- Wolf Tracks -
A Summary of Gray Wolf
Conservation Activities and Issues
in the Western Great Lakes States
Since the gray wolf was first listed under the Endangered Species Act
(ESA) in 1974, recovery programs have helped populations of this
species rebound from the lows experienced during the middle of the 20th
century. Today, wolf recovery has been achieved in the Western Great
Lakes region of the United States. As a result of this success, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service has removed ESA protection for the Gray
Wolf Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment. Read More.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only.
It does not imply endorsement of any kind by the U.S. Government.