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 have the force of law, so they go through a rigorous process before being put into place. All proposed rules 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. 

Rulemaking

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.

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.

PROVIDE COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK

How we handle your comments

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

A hunter and his dog in a small motorboat on a slough off the Mississippi River
Annual Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annually publishes Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations, an update in the Federal Register to Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This page lists those regulations over recent years.
Eastern box turtle
Wildlife Crime
Smugglers gamble with turtles’ lives, causing disease outbreak
What do you get when someone puts multiple turtles taken illegally from the wild together in one box without food or water for several days? It’s not a joke. It’s a disturbing question wildlife veterinarians were faced with when nearly 100 eastern box turtles, seized from an illegal shipment, were...
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Migratory Species
Nontoxic Shot Regulations For Hunting Waterfowl and Coots in the U.S.
Are you interested in finding out what the approved nontoxic shot types for waterfowl hunting are in the United States?
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Land Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Manual
We are in the process of moving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Manual to a more user-friendly electronic format. This temporary page links to a searchable PDF version of the manual.
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Land Management
Filming Activities in the National Wildlife Refuge System
In response to ongoing litigation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has changed the way it manages filming activities on units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The guidance in this story applies only to filming activities. Requirements for still photography are not affected by this...
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Wildlife Crime
How to report wildlife crime
If you believe you have information related to a wildlife crime, email or call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with information about where and when it occurred, along with what you witnessed. Include any photos or videos you may have.