Investigations & Prevention
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Environmental Contaminants Program includes contaminants specialists stationed at more than 75 locations around the country. Service contaminants specialists are on the front lines in the fight against pollution. They specialize in detecting toxic chemicals; addressing their effects; preventing harm to fish, wildlife and their habitats; and removing toxic chemicals and restoring habitat when prevention isn't possible. They include experts on oil and chemical spills, pesticides, water quality, hazardous materials disposal and other aspects of pollution biology. The Contaminant Program's operations are integrated into all other Service activities and the Service's contaminants specialists often work in partnership with other agencies and organizations which have come to rely on our expertise.
Contaminants specialists review environmental documents, legislation, regulations, and permits and licenses with pollution potential to ensure that harmful effects on fish, wildlife, and plants are avoided or minimized. Some examples include:
- analysis of documents and permits related to control of nonpoint source pollution from agriculture and urban runoff, point source pollution from industrial and municipal waste treatment facilities, and discharges of dredge and fill material;
- review of proposed Federal projects related to mining, agricultural irrigation, range management, and oil and gas development to ensure that habitat quality concerns are adequately addressed;
- review of EPA pesticide registration proposals to ensure that potential impacts to fish and wildlife are considered; and,
- review of pesticide use on FWS lands to ensure these chemicals are properly applied and, in some cases, to recommend the use of acceptable alternatives.