The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary federal agency responsible for conserving and enhancing the nation's fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the FWS shares this responsibility with other federal, state, tribal, local and private entities, the FWS has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands and other special aquatic habitats. The FWS also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats.
Yes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages national wildlife refuges like Toppenish. But that's only part of the story. From tagging polar bears in the frozen Arctic Circle to cleaning oil spills in the tidelands of Louisiana, from testing fish for agricultural contaminants in the shrub-steppe of eastern Washington to reviewing hydropower proposals in the rugged mountains of West Virginia, from providing grants for local wildlife conservation in Michigan to raising endangered sturgeon at hatcheries in Oregon, the FWS can be found anywhere wildlife might be impacted. Sure you've seen pictures of FWS personnel releasing wolves into Yellowstone National Park or California condors into the canyons of Arizona. But FWS agents can be found working in airport terminals in Miami looking for smuggled endangered turtles from South America. FWS personal can be found on university campuses working on lamprey control in the Great Lakes. Within the FWS, conservation is more than national wildlife refuges.
And it's often more than conservation of wildlife. Like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protecting wilderness, wild & scenic rivers and other protected areas found within lands the agency manages. Like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protection of Native American trust resources. And like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protecting historic and cultural resources found on its lands, from Traditional Cultural Properties on the Hanford Reach National Monument to the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House on Conboy Lake NWR, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Toppenish NWR is an important stop along the Pacific Flyway for a wide variety of waterfowl. Without the conservation of these important wetlands in the Yakima Valley, the integrity of the Pacific Flyway would be greatly compromised. And without the conservation and habitat management measures employed every day by the FWS, Toppenish NWR would never live up to its full potential as habitat for migratory birds.