Steps for Land Exchange
1. Landowner can initiate contact or contact may be initiated by a
representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). Landowner will be
asked to complete a LAND EXCHANGE
CERTIFICATION which will communicate the landowner’s desire to
pursue an exchange of their real property for unreserved public lands.
2. If the landowner initiates contact, his/her property will be evaluated
by the Service for biological importance, location (the lands to be conveyed
to the Service must be within the approved boundary
of a national wildlife refuge), and availability of funds.
3. In most instances, the Service and the landowner negotiate and execute
a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the roles and responsibilities of the
parties involved (a Corporate Resolution or other appropriate source of
authority should accompany this document if applicable).
4. The Service coordinates with other Federal Agencies if applicable.
5. The Service completes compliance documents, including Environmental
Site Assessments, Biological Assessments, and other documentation in
accordance with Wetland and Floodplain protection, Cultural Resource
Protection/Historic Preservation, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
6. The Service obtains title work on the lands to be conveyed to the
7. The Service contracts for appraisals of all lands involved in the
exchange (summer months are the most appropriate times to complete this
8. The completed appraisals are reviewed by the Appraisal Services
9. If the appraisals are approved by ASD, the Service meets with the
landowner to discuss the appraised values and negotiate an Agreement for the
Exchange of Lands.
10. If agreement is reached by both parties and an Agreement for the
Exchange of Lands is signed, the Service submits the exchange proposal to the
Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (if applicable). Exchanges that involve lands over a
particular dollar amount require Congressional oversight and review.
11. The Service sends the exchange package and title work to the Office of
the Solicitor for review.
12. Upon approvals from the Director and the Office of the Solicitor, the
Service and the landowner exchange deeds.
13. The Service completes the exchange process in coordination with a
contract title company by recording the deeds in the public records.