U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the Department of Interior’s (DOI) key agency charged with the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. To accomplish this mission, the Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, and operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. Work undertaken at these locations and offices provides direct support to the Service’s conservation objectives by providing critical fish and wildlife habitats, managing species, populations and/or providing biological expertise to others.
Additionally, the Service works with other government and non-government partners and private landowners to support fish and wildlife habitat on non-federal lands and foster voluntary habitat conservation and restoration.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region
The Northeast Region encompasses 13 states from Maine to Virginia. About 70 million people, nearly a quarter of the nation’s population, live within this area where the Service’s nearly 1,000 employees work in the regional headquarters, field offices, national wildlife refuges or fish hatcheries. Many of these 132 facilities are open to visitors and can provide exciting opportunities for wildlife-dependent education, recreation and interpretation.
In 2007, the Northeast Region began implementing the Service’s new, holistic management approach for conservation – strategic habitat conservation (SHC) – in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; a description is below. In addition, the Northeast Region began developing underlying business processes and information needed to support SHC-based work.
What is strategic habitat conservation and why is the Service doing it?
Strategic habitat conservation (SHC) is a science-based framework for making management decisions about where and how to deliver conservation efficiently to achieve specific biological outcomes. SHC is a way of thinking and doing business that requires us to set specific biological goals, allows us to make strategic decisions about our work, and encourages us to constantly reassess and improve our actions.
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What does cost and performance management have to do with SHC?
When the Service sets out to make an impact on the migratory birds, fish and threatened or endangered species in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it brings the entire management toolkit to the table –including biological expertise and world-class cost and performance management tools.
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's offices involved in the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed encompass 6 states from New York to Virginia. More than 16 million people live within this watershed, wheremore than 300 Service employees work in the regional headquarters, field offices, national wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries and fishery resource offices supporting the Chesapeake Bay. Many of these facilities are open to visitors and provide exciting opportunities for wildlife-dependent education, recreation and interpretation.
Within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, twelve refuges conserve the Bay’s living resources and protect vital habitats, as well as annually host increasing numbers of visitors who enjoy wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation and photography. Please select the links below to learn more.
- Chesapeake Bay Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex:
- Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex:
- Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex
- Patuxent Research Refuge
The Chesapeake Bay watershed, with its diverse habitats and burgeoning human population offers tremendous challenges for the Ecological Services biologists in our five field offices. Oil spills, habitat degradation, invasive species, barrier dams and other factors too numerous to mention are all working against our fish and wildlife resources. Biologists work to reduce or eliminate these threats through habitat restoration, endangered species recovery activities, identification of wetland habitats, assessing and eliminating the impacts of contaminants, minimizing construction impacts, dam removal and fish passage improvements. They are all part of the biologists' daily activities. They work with a wide variety of partners to accomplish their mission. State fish and wildlife agencies, private conservation groups, federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and many industry groups and private landowners are all included in the conservation effort underway in the Northeast, and examples are many and varied. Conservation groups work with us to save estuarine habitat on Chesapeake Bay; wetland restoration projects abound on private land and contaminated habitat is being restored in virtually all of our states. The challenge will only increase with time, as will the commitment of our Ecological Services biologists to meet it. Click the links below to learn more about these offices and the work they do to conserve and protect the watershed and its living resources.
The Service's Fisheries Program maintains healthy populations of coastal and anadromous fish (fish that spend part of their lives in fresh water and part in the ocean), fish species that cross state or national boundaries, and endangered aquatic animals and their habitats. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, fishery management offices and national fish hatcheries work with states and other partners to restore and protect a variety of fish and other aquatic species. Examples include Atlantic salmon, striped bass, American shad, river herring, sturgeon, horseshoe crab, American eel, and lake trout. Stable fish populations are important because they indicate healthy river systems that can sustain fishing and other water-based recreation. Click the links below to learn more about these offices and the work they do to conserve and protect the watershed and its living resources.
On May 12, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Chesapeake Bay Restoration and Protection Executive Order 13508. The Executive Order recognizes the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calls on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation's largest estuary and its watershed. The Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order established a Federal Leadership Committee to oversee the development and coordination of reporting, data management and other activities by agencies involved in the restoration of Chesapeake Bay. The committee is chaired by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and includes senior representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation and others.
The Service is one of ten federal agencies that developed seven draft reports released on September 9, 2009. These draft reports identify strategies to accelerate cleanup and restoration of the nation's largest estuary and its vast watershed. On behalf of the Department of the Interior, the Service co-led development of the draft Habitat and Living Resources Report (202(g)), which identifies actions that will apply science and technologies to improve management decisions for habitats and living resources.
The Federal Leadership Committee will evaluate the draft reports and consult with bay jurisdictions to refine the recommendations. On November 9, 2009, a draft strategy that integrates the seven reports was released for public comment. A final strategy was completed by May 12, 2010.
- View the revised reports on the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order website. Provide your comments by January 8, 2010.
- Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
- Read the news release from EPA
- Read the full text from the White House Briefing Room