The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) works directly with other federal agencies and programs, as well as the American public, on infrastructure development projects to protect the environment and preserve our nation's biological resources. Field biologists in all 50 states assist project proponents, planners, and agency personnel in developing plans that conserve, restore, or enhance plant and animal species, while accomplishing the objectives of proposed development. Our biologists in the field fulfill numerous duties under multiple authorities, including the Clean Water Act, Federal Power Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Biologists review and provide recommendations on plans and development designs, craft mitigation plans, provide expertise in wildlife and habitat science, and serve as members on planning teams.
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The Service published a final revised Mitigation Policy that will guide its review of potential impacts of land and water development projects on the nation's wildlife and their habitats. Through this revised policy, the Service will help others avoid, minimize, and compensate for any potential negative effects of development. This update of the Service's longstanding Mitigation Policy, which has guided agency recommendations since 1981, provides a broad and flexible framework to facilitate conservation, while allowing economic activity to continue.
The policy revision follows a recent Presidential memorandum directing certain federal agencies to adopt a common set of best practices to minimize the harmful impacts to wildlife and other ecological resources caused by land- or water-disturbing activities, and to ensure that any remaining harmful effects are appropriately addressed or mitigated. The revisions also implement a recent Secretarial Order on improving mitigation policies and practices within the Department of the Interior.
On December 27, 2016, the Service published a new proposed Compensatory Mitigation Policy that addresses mitigation of impacts on species that are listed, or may soon need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.