Land acquisition is a strategy used by the Fish and Wildlife Service in
achieving its goals and objectives for certain species and activities. The
objectives below correspond to target categories in the Land Acquisition
Priority System (LAPS).
LAPS is an automated resource-based process that
provides a uniform and objective approach to prioritizing refuge land
acquisition. The LAPS ranking process is used to determine the national
priority of a proposed acquisition. It is used in all aspects of the Congressional
budget process and provides easily accessible historical and future data on
specific projects. The LAPS provides a biological basis for ranking projects
and redirects acquisition efforts toward those projects having the highest
overall national value.
Migratory Birds. The objective is to maintain and manage an appropriate
distribution and diversity of high quality waterfowl habitat. This habitat
will maintain current distribution of waterfowl populations and sustain an
abundance of waterfowl consistent with population objectives stated in the
North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
Endangered Species. The objective is to prevent species from becoming
extinct and to recover their populations to the point where they no longer
require listing on the Federal “List of Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife and Plants.” Commonly, a species becomes endangered because of
a loss of essential habitat. Often, the species can be preserved no other way
than by protecting habitat through land acquisition. These habitats are
usually under stress from competing uses and can be costly, both socially and
economically, to acquire. For the purposes of using the LAPS, habitat
protection must be identified in an approved recovery plan prior to being
submitted for budgeting.
Nationally Significant Wildlife Habitat. Projects in this category prevent
permanent loss of nationally significant fish, wildlife, and plant resources.
This includes all Service wildlife management actions related to essential
habitat for these species and ensures the perpetuation of habitat important
to fish and wildlife species. Criteria have been established to qualify
projects for protection and an extensive national effort has been made by
States and other outside consultants to identify such ecosystems and
alternate means of protecting them. Candidate areas for protection cover an
extremely wide range of projects with respect to habitat, cost, and size.
Proposed sites must contain a concentration of different species or a variety
of species of a magnitude that sets them apart from similar sites around the
Nationally Significant Wetlands. The objective is to protect the Nation's
more important, scarce, and vulnerable wetlands, particularly those
representing a declining wetland type within an eco-region and those having
high public benefit. A variety of benefits are associated with wetland
preservation. Habitat will be provided for endangered species for commercial
and/or sport fishes, and for wildlife-oriented recreation. Benefits will also
be derived from continuation of or improvement in surface and groundwater
quality and quantity and flood control. For the purposes of using LAPS,
wetlands projects must be included in Regional Wetland Concept Plans.
Nationally Significant Fishery Resources. The objective is to protect and
facilitate restoration of depleted, nationally significant fishery resources.
(1) The term "nationally significant" refers to fin-fish
resources comprising a continuum of one or more unit stocks; i.e.,
reproductively discrete stocks represented by a single or an assemblage of
closely related species, anadromous (anadromous means migrating up rivers from the sea to
breed in fresh water, as salmon do) in character, and /or
inter-jurisdictional (interstate or national) in distribution.
(2) Target fishery resources are primarily those whose performance and
contribution have been reduced to sub-optimal levels by a wide variety of
factors associated mainly with habitat degradation and excessive use.
Emphasized are anadromous and
resources represented by indigenous species within their
original ranges. Although not a criteria for LAPS, land acquisition is also
used to perfect or protect water supplies and watersheds.
Significant Biodiversity. The objective is to protect representative
examples of nationally significant native ecological communities. Sites
contain or provide potential for restoring nationally significant elements of
our Nation's heritage. Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability
among native organisms, communities, and the ecological complexes in which
(1) Biodiversity may be viewed at many levels, ranging from landscape
complexes and complete ecosystems to the chemical structures that are the
molecular basis of heredity. The term biodiversity, therefore, encompasses
the numbers and relative abundance of different ecosystems, species, and
genes native to any particular area of interest.
(2) Biodiversity acquisitions are those that contain all, or most, of
their naturally occurring biotic (biotic means relating to life or specific
life conditions) components and functions. Emphasis is placed upon the native
aspects of the biota (biota means the animal and plant life of a particular
region). The native species are those that occur as a result of natural
succession and are not the result of humans or their commensals (commensalism is a relationship in which two or
more organisms live in close attachment or partnership and in which one may
derive some benefit but neither harms or is parasitic
on the other). The objectives of protecting biodiversity are to capture,
protect, and where possible, restore the native characteristics of the
landscape, not to strive for areas of great numbers of species.
Last updated: August 26, 2008
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