Fish and Aquatic Conservation

Legislative History of the Sikes Act

16 U.S.C. §670a-670o
Enacted September 15, 1960
PL 86-797
Expires 2014


The Sikes Act directs the Secretary of Defense, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State fish and wildlife agencies, to carry out a program for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on military installations.  The Sikes Act allows for the sustainable, multipurpose use of natural resources subject to military security and safety requirements.

Relevant provisions:

The Sikes Act of 1960 provided for cooperation by the Departments of the Interior and Defense, along with state fish and wildlife agencies, in planning, development, and maintenance of fish and wildlife resources on military reservation throughout the United States. The Act also authorized the collection of hunting and fishing fees on military lands and directed the Department of Defense to expend such fees in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

An amendment (P.L. 90-465), enacted August 8, 1968, authorized a program for development of outdoor recreation facilities.  Also, appropriations to carry out the Act were authorized.

Public Law 93-452, signed October 18, 1974, reauthorized the Sikes Act through Fiscal Year (FY) 1978 and required the cooperative conservation plan for military installations to provide for fish and wildlife habitat improvements; range rehabilitation where necessary for support of wildlife; and control of off-road vehicle traffic.

P.L. 93-452 authorized similar conservation and rehabilitation programs on certain public lands, including those administered by the Atomic Energy Commission (now the Department of Energy), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. These programs are carried out in cooperation with the States by the Secretary of the Interior, and on Forest Service lands by the Secretary of Agriculture. 

An amendment signed October 5, 1978, (P.L. 95-420) extended the authorization of appropriations through FY 1981.

Public Law 97-396, approved December 31, 1982, extended authorization for Titles I and II through FY 1985 at the previously existing levels. The Sikes Act was also amended to expand the scope of the cooperative conservation plans for military installations to include habitat improvement projects and protection of threatened and endangered species.  P.L. 97-396 also provided for the inclusion of endangered plants in conservation programs developed for BLM, Forest Service, NASA, and DOE lands. It also defined "cooperative agreements" with States and clarified section 209 concerning purchases and contracts for property and services from States.

Public Law 99-561, approved October 27, 1986, extended the authorization levels through FY 1988 and requires the multiple use management of natural resources found on installations.  It requires the Secretary of each military department to use trained professionals to manage the wildlife and fishery resources under his jurisdiction, and requires Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies be given priority in management of fish and wildlife activities on military reservations. It also modified the timber reserve account and provides that any sale or lease of land or forest products from a military reservation be compatible with a cooperative plan.

Public Law 100-653, enacted November 14, 1988, reauthorized appropriations through 1993.

Public Law 101-650, approved December 7, 1990, made minor language changes.

The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997(P.L. 105-85), enacted on November 18, 1997, broadened the scope of military natural resources programs, integrated natural resources programs with operations and training, embraced the tenets of conservation biology, invited public review, and strengthened funding for conservation activities on military lands.  The Act requires the development and implementation of Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMPs) for relevant installations.  INRMPs must be prepared by military installations in cooperation with the Service and state fish and wildlife agencies through a collaborative process.  Where appropriate and applicable, INRMPs must also provide for public access to installations for enjoyment of natural resources.  The Act also requires that the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with state fish and wildlife agencies, submit a report annually on the amounts expended by Interior and state fish and wildlife agencies on activities conducted pursuant to INRMPs to respective congressional committees with oversight responsibilities. Finally, the Sikes Act Improvement Act authorized appropriations of $3 million for the years 1998 to 2003 to the Secretary of the Interior to carry out functions and responsibilities under the INRMP process.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2004 (P.L. 108-136), enacted on November 24, 2003, reauthorized appropriations through FY 2008.  In addition, this law amended Section 101 of the Sikes Act to authorize the Department of Defense to incorporate provisions for invasive species management in INRMPs for military installations in Guam.

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2009 (P.L. 110-417), enacted on October 14, 2008, amended the Sikes Act to broaden the authority to use cooperative agreements for maintenance and improvement of natural resources located off of a military installation.

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (P.L. 111-84), enacted on October 28, 2009, amended the Sikes Act to allow for interagency agreements to be entered into with other Federal departments and agencies.  The appropriations to implement the Sikes Act also were reauthorized through FY 2014.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 (P.L. 112-81), enacted on December 31, 2011, required INRMPs for state-owned lands supporting Army National Guard facilities.


Appropriations for the Department of the Interior to carry out provisions of the Sikes Act, including responsibilities under INRMPs, shall not exceed $3 million annually for fiscal years 2009 through 2014.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, implements the Sikes Act through its Endangered Species and Habitat and Resource Conservation programs.

Sikes Act
Public Law 86-797 (74 Stat. 1052).
September 15, 1960,

Sikes Act Improvement Act (Title XXIX)
Public Law 105-85  11 Stat. 2017
November 18, 1997

National Defense Authorization Act for 2004 (Section 311)  
Public Law 108-136 117 Stat. 1392
November 24, 2003

National Defense Authorization Act for 2009 (Section 313) 
Public Law 110–417 122 Stat. 4356
OCT. 14, 2008

National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (Title III, Subtitle B)  
Public Law 111–84  123 Stat. 2190
OCT. 28, 2009

National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (Section 312) 
Public Law 112–81 125 Stat. 1298
DEC. 31, 2011

Last updated: October 16, 2015