Regulations are an important part of our conservation efforts. During the past one hundred years, the United States has enacted wildlife laws and regulations, and ratified international treaties to protect our heritage of wild animals and plans and their habitats. 

Laws, Agreements and Treaties

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service receives its authority through a number of laws, treaties, and regulations focused on conservation. These various forms of legislation provide a framework and specific guidelines for much of the work the Service does domestically and internationally. 

Learn more about the U.S. Conservation Laws, Bilateral/Multilateral Agreements, Treaties and Conventions that guide FWS and its work.

Laws, Agreements, and Treaties

Implementing Laws

Laws passed by Congress often need additional details so that everyone impacted knows exactly what is allowed and what isn't. Congress has authorized the Fish and Wildlife Service to add detail to laws through additional rules or "regulations."

Regulations go through a rigorous process before being put into place. All rules we propose are open to public scrutiny and comment, after which we make needed changes. Only after we are sure the rule is needed and properly constructed do we make it final, announcing it in the Federal Register.

Our Federal Register content

Open For Public Comment

As a government agency, FWS has procedures to creates rules and regulations. Every proposed rule goes through a process of drafting, comment and review before it becomes final.  The Federal Register is where we publish official notices about proposed and final rules, including rulemaking timelines.

View all rulemaking documents concerning FWS or search for a specific rulemaking document by title, docket ID or term.


How we handle your comments

Code of Federal Regulations

Each year, the general and permanent rules we publish in the Federal Register are bundled up and added to an annual update to the Code of Federal Regulations (often called the CFR). Our updates go into “Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries.”

Our Code of Federal Regulations content

Congressional Testimony

Interested in learning more about how FWS takes part in the legislative process? View an archive of Congressional Testimonies given by officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior on issues important to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Latest Stories Related to Laws & Regulations

Northern pintail on a wetland
Wildlife Management
Innovative New Strategy to Inform Northern Pintail Hunting Regulations
New Interim Northern Pintail Harvest Strategy approved to update the previous strategy from 2010 and guide regulations for the 2025-26 hunting season using the latest science, a revised model and 10 additional years of population data.
Golden eagle head
Wildlife Crime
Reward Offered for Information Regarding the Poisoning of Protected Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Oregon State Police (OSP) are seeking information regarding the illegal killing of three gray wolves and two golden eagles in Wallowa County in Eastern Oregon. The deaths occurred in an area of known wolf activity, as defined by the Oregon...
a small cactus that has green fleshy parts and white hair
Wildlife Crime
Catching Cactus Crooks
“Never in a million years did I expect to investigate cactus smuggling as a federal officer,” said Special Agent Eric Jumper. “Once I started working the case though, I found it both very interesting and absolutely shocking: reading the correspondences between supplier and buyer, and learning how...
Butterfly rests on tall flowering plant.
Endangered Species Act
Revisions Strengthen Endangered Species Act
The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) have finalized three rules that will restore important protections for species and their habitats,...
A gray wolf lays down in short grasses, with it's head up and looking quizzically at the camera.
Endangered Species Act
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Information From the Public
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is seeking information regarding the deaths of three endangered gray wolves east of Bly in southern Oregon. The deaths occurred in an area of known wolf activity, as defined by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), that stretches across Klamath and Lake...
Headshot of a Bald eagle.
Wildlife Crime
Reward Offered for Information on Bald Eagle Shooting in Clayton, Delaware
Federal investigators seek information about the shooting of an adult bald eagle found at the Blackbird State Forest Dulany Manor Tract