U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Realty Operations

The Realty Operations and Mapping Sciences Branches are responsible for land acquisition of inholdings and land exchanges within refuges, land leases in support of Service activities in Alaska, granting rights-of-way for use of refuge lands.

Rainbow at the North Slope
Rainbow at the North Slope, Photo Credit: Brian Anderson/USFWS

Land Acquisition

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.

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The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) manages a network of refuge and non-refuge real property interests in Alaska through acquisition and maintenance of leases and permits.

Examples of leased or permitted interests commonly acquired in support of Service objectives include but are not limited to:  aircraft tie-down and parking areas, hangars or aircraft maintenance facilities, aircraft refueling sites, floatplane docking and refueling sites, equipment and supply storage areas, radio/transmitter communication sites, visitor centers, and administrative sites.

Acquisition, coordination, maintenance and disposal activities relating to leased or permitted real property interests are processed by the Division of Realty and Natural Resources under the authority of the Regional Director.

Rights-of-Way & Easements

Right-of-way permits grant legal rights to use lands owned by another for specific purposes usually for definite periods of time. The Fish and Wildlife Service grants right-of-way permits under the authority of various laws and acts involving wildlife refuges. Most Fish and Wildlife Service right-of-way permits in Alaska are for transportation and utility systems, or for research and educational sites. Click below to learn more about the key features of the right-of-way permitting process and other means of access.

Learn More About Rights-of-Way

Mapping Science

The Mapping Science Branch maintains maps of lands status within refuge boundaries and provides mapping support for the refuges in Alaska.

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Division of Natural Resources: Environmental Compliance

The Division of Natural Resources is responsible for ensuring compliance with environmental laws and regulations when right-of-way permits are issued on National Wildlife Refuge System lands in Alaska. Right-of-way permits issued by the Division of Realty are considered Federal actions subject to environmental laws, including but not limited to, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Endangered Species Act of 1973, National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

Right-of-way permits for transportation and utility systems into and across Conservation System Units in Alaska are governed by provisions of Title XI of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Implementing regulations at 43 CFR Part 36 require a coordinated Federal review of applications for transportation and utility systems.