2.1 What is the purpose of this
This chapter, developed in accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 13186 (Responsibilities
of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds), provides information to
all Service employees about the management and conservation of migratory
are the objectives of this policy? Because
migratory birds are one of our primary trust resources, all Service employees
A. Implement their mission-related
activities and responsibilities in a way that furthers the conservation of
migratory birds and minimizes and avoids the potential adverse effects of
migratory bird take, with the goal of eliminating take.
B.. Emphasize an interdisciplinary,
collaborative approach to migratory bird conservation in cooperation with
other Service programs, State and Federal agencies, international entities,
and non-governmental partners.
C. Use the best available scientific
information to incorporate ecosystem integrity, reduction of invasive
species, and long-term adaptive management into migratory bird conservation.
is the scope of this chapter?
E.O. 13186 directs all Federal agencies whose actions have a measurable
impact on migratory bird populations to develop a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with the Service, in addition to calling on Federal agencies to take
steps to promote migratory bird conservation. The scope of this chapter is
what the Service can do internally to promote migratory bird conservation.
What are the authorities for this chapter?
A. Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 U.S.C. 703-712).
B. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668).
C. Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as
Waterfowl Habitat (I.L.M. 11:963-976).
Bird Treaties with Great Britain (for Canada) (39 Stat.1702; TS 628, as
amended), Mexico (50 Stat. 1311; TS912, as amended), Soviet Union (Russia)
(T.I.A.S. 9073), and Japan (25 UST 3329; T.I.A.S 7990, as amended).
E. Convention on Nature Protection and
Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere (Pub.L. 93-205).
F. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667).
G. Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715-715d, 715e, 715f-715r).
H. E.O. 13186 (66 FR 3853), Responsibilities of
Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds.
I. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347).
J. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 2901-2911).
K. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544).
L. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act, as amended (Pub. L. 94-265).
M. North American Wetlands Conservation
Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 4401).
N. Neotropical Miogratory Bird
Conservation Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 6101-6109, 1583).
What does the term ‘Species of Concern’ mean? The term “species of concern” means:
A. Those species listed in the
periodic report, Birds of
Conservation Concern, published by our Service Division
of Migratory Bird Management,
B. Priority migratory bird species documented
in comprehensive bird conservation plans (North American Waterbird
Conservation Plan, United States Shorebird Conservation Plan, Partners in
Flight Bird Conservation Plans),
C. Species or populations of waterfowl
that the North American Waterfowl Management Plan identifies as a high, or
moderately high, continental priority,
D. Listed threatened and endangered
bird species in 50 CFR 17.11; or
E. MBTA-listed game birds below
desired population sizes. (See our Migratory Birds Website.)
does the Service implement its overall responsibilities for ensuring the
requirements in E.O. 13186 are met? We implement this policy when we
start new actions or renew contracts, permits, delegations, or other third
party agreements as well as when we start new, or revise existing Service
land management plans. The Division of Migratory Bird Management and the
Regional Migratory Bird program staff coordinate the following Service
responsibilities, as appropriate (see sections 2.7 through
2.14 for specific program responsibilities):
A. Support the conservation intent of
the migratory bird conventions by:
(1) Integrating migratory bird
conservation measures into our activities, and
(2) Avoiding or minimizing adverse
impacts on migratory bird resources.
B. Restore and enhance the habitat of
C. Prevent or abate the pollution or
detrimental alteration of the environment for the benefit of migratory birds.
D. Within established authorities and
in conjunction with the adoption, amendment, and revision of our management
plans and guidance, ensure that our plans and actions promote programs and
recommendations of comprehensive migratory bird planning efforts. Examples
include: Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Plans, the U.S. Shorebird
Conservation Plan, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and the
North American Waterbird Conservation Plan. The North American Bird
Conservation Initiative fosters integrated bird conservation, which is based
on sound science, effective management, and efficient use of resources among
the initiatives and bird conservation organizations.
E. Ensure that environmental analyses
of Federal actions required by the National Environmental Policy Act or other
established environmental review processes evaluate the effects of actions
and agency plans on migratory birds, with emphasis on species of concern (see
F. Control, within the scope of our
statutory authorities, the import, export, and establishment in the wild of
live non-native animals and plants that may be harmful to migratory bird
G. Promote interagency inventory, monitoring,
management studies, research, and information exchange related to the
conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. This may include:
(1) Using national inventory and
monitoring programs with standardized protocols to assess the status and
trends of bird populations and habitats,
(2) Implementing management studies and
research using national protocols and programs, such as the Breeding Biology
Research and Monitoring Database (BBIRD), and
(3) Sharing inventory, monitoring,
research, and study data for breeding, migrating, and wintering populations
and habitats, such as Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS).
H. Promote education and outreach
opportunities related to migratory birds, such as International Migratory
Bird Day, the Junior Duck Stamp Program, Urban Conservation Treaties, Hunter
Education, and the Shorebird Sister Schools Program.
I. Develop and provide training on
migratory bird conservation to appropriate Service and other Federal agency
J. Provide technical assistance on
migratory bird species and their habitats to other Federal agencies.
K. In conjunction with other Federal
agencies, work to develop reasonable and effective conservation measures for
key management actions that affect migratory birds and their natural habitats
with emphasis on species of concern.
L. Work to identify special migratory
bird habitats (migration corridors, stop-over habitats, ecological conditions
important in nesting habitats, etc.) to aid in collaborative planning.
M. In consultation with the Department
of State, as appropriate, promote migratory bird conservation in
international activities and with other countries and international partners.
N. Participate in the Council for the
Conservation of Migratory Birds.
O. Strengthen partnerships with
non-governmental entities to further migratory bird conservation.
How does the Service’s Migratory Bird program implement E.O. 13186?
The Division of Migratory Bird Management staff:
(1) Along with the Division of Bird
Habitat Conservation and Regional Migratory Bird program staff, coordinates
the development of guidance and provides technical assistance, as
appropriate, to other Service programs that must implement the
2.8 through 2.14 below describe.
(2) Enters permitted migratory bird take activities into the Service
Permit Issuance and Tracking System (SPITS), including species and number of
individuals taken, in a timely manner.
(3) Coordinates training and information exchange both within the
Service and with other Federal agencies on the methods and means of avoiding
or minimizing take with the goal of striving to eliminate take of migratory
birds and conserving and restoring migratory bird habitat.
(4) In coordination with other Federal and State agencies and
(a) Improves the design of existing
migratory bird surveys and increases efforts to monitor species whose status
is poorly known, especially species of concern; and
(b) Develops status assessments for
migratory bird species of concern that identify their limiting factors and
promotes strategies for addressing them.
(5) Facilitates migratory bird conservation through the increased use
of biologically-based, geospatial planning tools, such as Geographic
Information Systems and statistical modeling, that identify focal areas for
bird habitat protection, restoration, and management.
(6) Administers the migratory bird permit program consistent with the
intent of this policy.
(7) Increases dialogue between Regional Migratory Bird program staff,
refuge biologists, and refuge managers during the evaluation process for
species of concern, development of standards (e.g., banding, monitoring) for
biological work on migratory birds, and writing of strategic Regional plans.
(8) Raises public awareness about the possible presence of birds in a
nest and the risk of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the
Endangered Species Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Informs
the public of factors that will help minimize the likelihood that take would
occur should nests (with birds or eggs) be destroyed (also see Migratory
Bird Permit Memorandum on Nest Destruction, April 15, 2003).
(9) Coordinates with Joint Ventures and
other partners to develop goals and objectives for migratory birds for all
Bird Conservation Regions in the U.S. Provides expertise to the National
Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) staff to integrate these goals and objectives
into Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP) and other land management plans
and to plan the future of the NWRS.
B. The Division of Bird Habitat Conservation staff:
(1) Provides funds for partnerships that conserve habitats benefiting
migratory birds through competitive matching grants (North American Wetlands
Conservation Act and Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act).
(2) Encourages Joint Ventures to address migratory bird conservation
priorities, consistent with national and international bird plans, in their
biological planning work, conservation design, project implementation, and
monitoring evaluation and research activities.
(3) Produces and markets the Federal
Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to increase NWRS acquisitions
to conserve migratory birds and implements the Junior Duck Stamp Program to
increase conservation awareness.
2.8 How does the Service’s Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration program implement E.O. 13186? Our Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration program staff:
A. Encourages partners to incorporate
best management practices into their migratory bird conservation projects.
B. Encourages State agencies responsible for implementing fish and
wildlife conservation and restoration grants administered through our Federal
Assistance program to design their projects to provide benefits to migratory
birds, particularly species of concern, as appropriate. These programs
include, but are not limited to:
(1) Wildlife Restoration,
(2) National Coastal Wetlands
(3) Multistate Conservation Grants,
(4) State Wildlife Grants, and
(5) Landowner Incentive Programs.
2.9 How does the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) implement E.O. 13186? Our NWRS staff:
A. Coordinates and implements plans
and actions (such as CCPs and habitat management plans), in support of
applicable comprehensive migratory bird planning efforts, such as:
(1) The Partners in Flight Bird
(2) The U.S. Shorebird Conservation
(3) The North American Waterfowl
Management Plan, and
(4) The North American Waterbird
B. Increases dialogue among refuge biologists, refuge planners, and
the Regional Migratory Bird program staff during the CCP process and
development of biological work plans for migratory birds and refuge strategic
C. Integrates Bird Conservation Region (BCR) goals and objectives
into the goals and objectives of CCPs and other management plans for
individual NWRS units, as appropriate.
D. When developing CCPs and other management plans for NWRS
units, identifies and evaluates opportunities to further provide habitats and
ecological conditions within the BCR needed to achieve the migratory bird
conservation goals and objectives for that Region.
E. Coordinates with the Division of Migratory Bird Management and
Service Ecological Services (E.S.) field offices to evaluate proposals for
siting towers or power lines on refuges. When issuing special use permits for
the installation of such facilities on refuge lands, permit stipulations
should encourage the permittee to implement best management practices, such
as compliance with voluntary communication tower and power line guidelines
and Service wind power guidelines.
F. As part of integrated pest management on refuges, ensures that
there is limited use of pesticides harmful to birds. Where refuges must use
pesticides that are harmful to birds, monitors the site during and after
application for potential bird kills. Where employees discover problems,
modifies control strategies to prevent future impacts.
G. Assesses the impact of invasive species management on migratory
birds, and makes recommendations on how to best achieve invasive species
management and migratory bird conservation goals. Employees should give
priority to species of concern and long-term habitat benefits. Coordinates
with the Division of Migratory Bird Management and the Regional Integrated
Pest Management Coordinator when developing integrated pest management plans
and programs for NWRS units where implementation could significantly affect
H. Manages refuges to encourage the restoration of native habitat
communities for species of concern, where appropriate.
I. Evaluates all management practices that may cause migratory
bird mortality and incorporates management principles that strive to minimize
or avoid take, with emphasis on species of concern. For example, conducts
restoration and management practices such as flooding, mowing, timber
harvest, and burning (e.g., their timing, location, and intensity) in ways
that minimize or avoid loss of nests and young, while still meeting
J. Evaluates current migratory bird
management actions to determine their effectiveness towards achieving
K. Develops measures to provide escape routes or refugia when clearing
vegetation (e.g., mowing from the inside out, mosaic patterns during
L. When employees do not know with a reasonable degree of certainty what
the impacts of their management actions are on migratory birds, works
cooperatively with Regional Migratory Bird Program staff, other agencies,
research institutions, or other entities to evaluate the effectiveness of the
management practices to accomplish the desired objectives for migratory
How does the Service’s Endangered Species program implement E.O. 13186? Our Endangered Species staff:
A. Incorporates habitat objectives of
the bird conservation plans (see 2.6D), as
appropriate, into Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 10 permits associated
with Habitat Conservation Plans, Safe Harbor Agreements, and Candidate
Conservation Agreements with Assurances.
B. Enters permitted migratory bird
take activities into SPITS, including species and number of individuals
taken, in a timely manner.
C. When conducting consultations with other Federal agencies on
actions that may affect proposed or candidate species, incorporates migratory
bird conservation into recommendations as appropriate.
D. Offers technical assistance within the Service and to the public about recovery needs of listed,
proposed, or candidate migratory bird species.
E. Considers opportunities for addressing migratory bird conservation
when developing and implementing recovery plans, Candidate Conservation
Agreements, and grants funded under the ESA.
F. Implements land acquisitions for the purpose of conservation of
listed species, including migratory birds.
G. Works with the Migratory Bird program to identify migratory bird
species that may warrant listing under the ESA and to address monitoring and
conservation of recently-delisted migratory bird species.
2.11 How does the Service’s Fisheries and Habitat Conservation program
implement E.O. 13186?
A. Division of Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance and Habitat
Restoration. Our Division of Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance and
Habitat Restoration staff:
(1) Conducts site visits to flag cavity
trees or active nest sites before we clear vegetation on projects we
implement or fund. Encourages other entities to do the same on projects with
a Federal nexus.
(2) Avoids clearing vegetation during the nesting season, particularly
for species of concern.
(3) Incorporates escape routes or refugia into plans involving habitat
manipulations (e.g., mowing vegetation from the inside out, mosaic patterns
during prescribed burns).
(4) Reports to Regional Migratory Bird program staff incidents of take,
such as those that may occur when birds are lost or wounded by fish sampling
gear. Monitoring take provides useful data for the development of non-lethal
(5) Requests that contractors, heavy equipment operators, and private
land owners implementing Service-funded projects avoid disturbing active nest
sites during project construction.
(6) Evaluates the timing of restoration or management activities to
avoid or minimize impacts to migratory birds when feasible. Places priority
on avoiding impacts to species of concern during the nesting season.
(7) Recommends the use of nondestructive, nondisruptive sampling
whenever feasible on site assessments.
(8) Encourages partners to incorporate best management practices into
their migratory bird habitat projects.
(9) Offers technical assistance within the Service and to the public
about recovery needs of listed, proposed, or candidate migratory bird
(10) Considers opportunities for addressing migratory bird
conservation when developing and implementing fishery management plans
through fish commissions or councils, such as the Atlantic States Marine
(11) Coordinates efforts with the Natural Resource Conservation
Service to ensure Farm Bill provisions are "bird-friendly" and
address migratory bird conservation, where appropriate.
(12) Develops outreach material
identifying and promoting regional native food plants for migratory bird
species of concern.
B. Division of Habitat and Resource Conservation. Our Division of
Habitat and Resource Conservation staff:
(1) Participates in early project planning to advance bird
conservation, with emphasis on species of concern. Specifically, they:
(a) Identify bird-related goals, conservation
measures, and comprehensive plans applicable to the project area,
(b) Advise on project impacts to
(c) Identify means and measures to
avoid or minimize potential for take of migratory birds, eggs, and active
nests, including, but not limited to:
(i) Project modification or denial;
(ii) Identification of time of year
restrictions on clearing vegetation;
(iii) Recommendations about avoiding
cavity trees, colonial bird nests, and other active nests; and
(iv) Recommendations about avoiding
nests of species of concern.
(2) Ensures that environmental analyses required by the National
Environmental Policy Act or other established environmental review processes
evaluate the effects of actions and agency plans on migratory birds,
particularly species of concern. This consideration is relevant to both
Service actions and the review of other Federal agency actions. Use best
available demographic, population, or habitat association data in the
assessment of impacts on migratory birds.
(3) Coordinates with the respective
Department of Defense Armed Forces in the development, review, and
implementation of Integrated Resource Management Plans (INRMP) to ensure they
address migratory bird conservation when applicable. Staff actively
participates on INRMP teams to ensure they are addressing migratory bird
conservation during INRMP development and for the 1-year and 5-year INRMP
(4) Coordinates Federal project
assessments with the Regional Migratory Bird program when proposed activities
may have a negative effect on migratory birds, particularly species of
(5) Increases review and consultation efforts for activities that
affect migratory bird populations and habitats, including communication
towers, wind turbines, and other utility structures.
(6) Promotes compliance with communication tower, power line, and wind
power guidelines as they are developed or revised.
(7) When completing project reviews, recommends to project applicants
that they incorporate sufficient funding in their budgets for investigating
and assessing issues pertinent to migratory birds, particularly species of
C. Division of Environmental Quality. Our Division of
Environmental Quality staff:
(1) When conducting environmental contaminants studies, limits adverse
effects of collection on migratory birds by not taking live birds whenever
possible and using non-lethal sampling whenever feasible (e.g., drawing blood
or feather collection).
(2) Improves the use and dissemination of the results of environmental
contaminants investigations that relate to migratory bird management and
status. Continues to use and improve the database for the Contaminant
Assessment program on National Wildlife Refuges to provide information of
concern to migratory bird managers.
(3) Uses surrogate, captive bred, or more abundant avian species for
testing sensitivity to environmental contaminants, especially when working in
partnership with researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in academia.
Minimizes the loss
of migratory birds from contaminants. Where terminally ill birds are
euthanized during spill response or following other exposures to oil,
hazardous materials, pesticides, or elevated levels of natural elements, uses
specimens to obtain appropriate ecotoxicological information to assist in
minimizes, and where possible, eliminates potential adverse impacts to
migratory birds from contaminants found on sites being considered for
(6) Where feasible, uses existing plans
for migratory bird management (see section 2.6D)
when developing restoration options for compensation for injuries to
(7) Coordinates intra- and inter-Service programs to assure remediation
and other management actions taken to eliminate or reduce environmental
contaminants focus on eliminating or significantly minimizing the take of
migratory birds. Where possible, management actions should assist in the
recovery and conservation of migratory birds.
(8) Requests appropriate funding levels for investigations and
assessment of impacts of hazardous wastes, oil, and other environmental
contaminants on migratory birds during general planning and budget
initiatives, and encourages partners, both inside and outside the Service, to
do the same.
D. Division of National Fish Hatchery System. Our Division of
National Fish Hatchery System staff:
(1) Coordinates closely with other Service programs to ensure that:
(a) The Memorandum on Environmentally
Beneficial Practices on Federal Landscaped Grounds (Presidential Memorandum,
Environmental Practices on Federal Grounds, April 26, 1994) is followed and
(b) It implements procedures to track
the amount of pesticides known to harm birds when applied, and to return
unused portions for recycling or disposal.
(2) Whenever possible, prevents the use of pesticides known to harm
birds at fish hatcheries. Where they must use pesticides harmful to birds,
notifies Service Ecological Services field offices and local Service Law
Enforcement offices 72 hours prior to the application. The notification must
include detailed data on the location (acre(s), latitude and longitude,
section/range/township) and contact information for the sites during and
after application. Works with the Ecological Services field office and Law Enforcement
to conduct more follow-up evaluations after applications of potentially
dangerous pesticides, and where problems are discovered, modifies control
strategies to prevent future impacts.
(3) Coordinates with Division of Migratory Bird Management staff to
evaluate the potential siting of towers or power lines on hatcheries or
rights-of-way and complies with communication tower, power line, and Service
interim wind power guidelines.
(4) Develops alternatives to eliminate mortality of migratory birds
and reduce, if possible, the effects they have on fish at hatcheries.
grounds to encourage the restoration of native habitat communities for
species of concern, where appropriate.
(6) Provides nest boxes for migratory
birds at hatcheries, with emphasis on species of concern.
(7) Develops alternatives that eliminate the mortality of migratory
birds and reduce the conflicts between migratory birds and the effects they
have on fish at hatcheries.
(8) Manages public use of fish hatcheries (including both non-wildlife
and wildlife-dependent recreational use) and related facilities to minimize
impacts on migratory bird populations and their habitats.
(9) Evaluates all management practices at fish hatcheries that may
cause migratory bird mortality and incorporates management principles that
strive to minimize or avoid take, with emphasis on species of concern. For
example, conducts restoration and management practices in ways that minimize
or avoid loss of nests and young, while still meeting site management
2.12 How does the Service’s Law Enforcement program implement E.O. 13186? Our Law Enforcement staff:
A. In coordination
with the Migratory Bird program staff, works with industries proactively
through education and outreach to minimize the take of migratory birds.
B. Investigates violations of the MBTA and other Federal laws that
affect migratory bird populations (e.g., commercial exploitation, market
hunting, and take caused by poisonings, oil spills, and other environmental
C. Prevents, within the scope of our statutory authorities, the import
of live non-native animals and plants that may be harmful to migratory bird
D. Works with Federal, State, and tribal counterparts to enforce
migratory game bird hunting regulations and preserve hunting opportunities
E. Continues to develop and provide training on migratory bird
identification and enforcement techniques to appropriate Federal, State, and
2.13 How does the Service’s International Affairs program implement E.O. 13186? Our International Affairs
A. Through the migratory bird treaties (i.e., with Canada, Mexico, Japan,
and Russia), works with government leaders and other colleagues in those
countries to develop innovative new approaches to migratory bird conservation
that help to achieve our conservation goals and those identified specifically
within the U.S. and North American bird conservation plans. Develops
conservation approaches in a way that integrates them into the priorities of
our partner countries.
B. Enters permitted migratory bird
take activities into SPITS, including species and number of individuals
taken, in a timely manner.
C. Division of International
(1) Project officers for small-grants programs work with grantees to
avoid or minimize any negative impacts to migratory birds that may occur when
implementing a grant.
(2) For scientific research grants on migratory birds, project
officers work with grantees to make sure they are fully trained in the
research methods to prevent negative impacts to birds (e.g., mist netting or
other banding techniques).
Hemisphere Program and the Russian Program (i.e., for migrants shared between
the Russian Far East and Alaska) integrate into their programs, as
appropriate, migratory bird conservation efforts that positively affect
species of concern. The Western Hemisphere Program and the Russian Program
are adding an additional criterion to their proposal review sheets.
(4) Staff seeks opportunities to work
with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the State Department's Agency
for International Development, and other international programs that affect
U.S. migratory bird species traveling outside the United States. Its
objective is to promote conservation of migratory birds and avoid take of
2.14 How does the Service’s Business Management and Operations program
implement E.O. 13186? Our Business Management and
Operations staff coordinates closely with other Service programs to ensure
A. Employees closely adhere to the
Memorandum on Environmentally Beneficial Practices on Federal Landscaped
B. We incorporate best management
practices into facility design, maintenance and repair, hazardous materials
management, and mitigation to reduce or eliminate take of migratory birds.
This includes consulting with the Regional Migratory Bird program before
beginning any engineering project that may adversely affect migratory birds.