The ability of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to acquire lands is
expressly subject to the availability of funds legislatively appropriated or
administratively allocated for such purposes. These steps indicate the acquisition
process for lands not held in restricted title. If lands are held in restricted title
(such as Native allotments), additional steps must be taken and coordinated
with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
1. A landowner can initiate contact or contact may be initiated by a
representative of the Service. If
the landowner initiates contact, his/her property will be evaluated by the
Service for biological importance, location (the property must be within the
boundary of a national wildlife refuge), and availability of funds for
2. If the Service wishes to pursue acquisition of the landowner’s
property, the landowner will be asked to complete a LAND EXCHANGE CERTIFICATION. The Land
Exchange Certification informs the landowner that he/she has the opportunity
to exchange his or her lands for unreserved public lands in accordance with
16 U.S.C. 3192a. The Secretary of the Interior is required to make this offer
prior to using certain types of Federal funds to purchase lands (or any
interest therein) in the State of
. The landowner will be asked to
indicate on this form whether or not he/she is interested in pursuing a land
The landowner will also be asked to complete a PERMISSION TO APPRAISE AND
INSPECT PROPERTY. This form gives
an appraiser and a representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service permission
to physically inspect the property and indicates the landowner’s
interest in selling his/her property.
3. The Service obtains title work.
4. The Service contracts for an appraisal of the property (summer months
are the most appropriate times to complete this step).
5. The completed appraisal is reviewed by the Appraisal Services
6. If the appraisal is approved by ASD, an offer to purchase the property
for market value is presented to the landowner, preferably in person. If the
landowner agrees with the offer, he/she signs the Purchase Agreement.
7. The Service conducts an Environmental Site Assessment (inspection of
the property for possible contamination issues) and performs a Water Rights
8. The Service requests a review of the title work from the Office of the
9. Upon response from the Office of the Solicitor that the title has been
reviewed and is acceptable, the Service will formally accept the Purchase
Agreement and inform the landowner in writing that we will proceed with
acquisition of the property.
10. The landowner will be given a Warranty Deed for signature.
11. The Service will complete the purchase in coordination with a contract
title company by recording the Warranty Deed and providing the funds to the
NOTE: The steps involved in a
land donation are similar; however, an appraisal is not obtained by the