Can You Tell Me About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
Office of External Affairs
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a bureau within the Department of the Interior. Our mission is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Although a relative newcomer to the Department of the Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service's programs are among the oldest in the world dedicated to natural resource conservation. The Service traces its origins to the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries in the Department of Commerce and the Division of Economic Orinthology and Mammology in the Department of Agriculture.

The Service manages the 93 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System of more than 520 National Wildlife Refuges and thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. Under the Fisheries program it also operates 66 National Fish Hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations.

Among its key functions, the Service enforces Federal wildlife laws , protects endangered species , manages migratory birds, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their international conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is on non-Federal lands. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Partners in Flight , Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and other partnership activities are the primary mechanisms for assisting voluntary habitat development on private lands and fostering aquatic conservation.

The Service employs approximately 7,500 people at facilities across the U.S. The Service is a decentralized organization with a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., seven geographic regional offices, and nearly 700 field units. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please visit the "Who We Are" page.

Please click here to learn more about the Service's role in the history of natural resource conservation. For additional information about this Web page, please contact us.

Last updated: February 11, 2009
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