Purchase/ Exchange/ Donation
The Fish and Wildlife Service acquires lands and waters consistent
with the legislation or other Congressional guidelines and Executive
Orders for the conservation of fish and wildlife and related habitat
and to provide wildlife-oriented public use for educational and recreational
purposes. We acquire lands only from willing sellers and generally within the boundaries
of National Wildlife Refuges.
A number of methods are available to acquire property rights. These
include direct purchase, exchange, and donation.
This is the most direct means of obtaining title to or an interest
in land. The Fish and Wildlife Service negotiates the purchase of, some,
or all property to rights from a willing seller.
Fee Title: This is the acquisition of most or
all of the rights to a tract of land. There is a total transfer of
property rights within the formal conveyance of title. While a fee
title acquisition generally involves most rights to a property, certain
rights may be reserved. The following are some examples:
(a) Water Rights; (b) Mineral Rights; (c) Use reservations (note:) Acquisition in fee title
by the Fish and Wildlife Service will result in an annual revenue
sharing payment being made to the local taxing authority.
Easement - This is the acquisition of limited right(s)
or less than fee title. The right to control access, hunting, and
development of the property are some typical examples of rights acquired
in easements. Easements are property rights and are usually perpetual.
If a landowner sells his/her property, the easements continue as part
of the land title. Easements are especially useful when multiple uses
for property can be developed. Properties subject to easements generally
remain on the tax roll, although the assessment may be reduced by
the reduction of market value. (Note:) Acquisition
of an easement interest by the Fish and Wildlife Service will not
result in an annual revenue sharing payment being made to the local
Lands under Fish and Wildlife Service or other Federal agency control
can be exchanged for land having greater potential for achieving habitat
protection objectives. Inherent in the exchange concept is the requirement
to get dollar value for dollar value. Exchanges are attractive in that
they usually do not increase Federal land holdings or require funds
for purchase, but they may be very labor intensive and may take years
to complete. A third party may at times be utilized to facilitate an
A citizen or group of citizens may wish to make a gift of land or interests
in land to the Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife purposes. Aside
from the cost factor, these acquisitions are no different than any other
means of land acquisition. Gifts and donations have the same planning
requirements as do purchases. Ordinarily, there are certain tax benefits
available to the donor as a result of a charitable contribution of land
to the Fish and Wildlife Service.