Functions. Here are a few of the ways we try to meet our mission:
We manage the 150 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System of more than 560 National Wildlife Refuges and thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. Under the Fisheries program we also operate 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 65 fishery resource offices and 86 ecological services field stations.
The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is on non-Federal lands. Voluntary habitat protection and restoration programs like the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Coastal Program and other partnership programs are the primary ways we deliver habitat conservation on public and private lands.
The Service employs approximately 9,000 people at facilities across the U.S. The Service is a decentralized organization with a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., with regional and field offices across the country. Our organizational chart shows structure and also provides information on senior management.
Our programs are among the oldest in the world dedicated to natural resource conservation. You can trace our history back to 1871 and the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries in the Department of Commerce and the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy in the Department of Agriculture
A 1940 reorganization plan (54 Stat. 1232) in the Department of the Interior consolidated the Bureau of Fisheries and the Bureau of Biological Survey into one agency to be known as the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife was created as a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior on November 6, 1956, by the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (70 Stat. 1119). That act was amended on July 1, 1974, by Public Law 93-271 (88 Stat. 92) to, among other purposes, abolish the position of Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife and designate the Bureau as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.