Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667e; the Act of March 10, 1934; Ch. 55; 48 Stat. 401), as amended by the Act of June 24, 1936, Ch. 764, 49 Stat. 913; the Act of August 14, 1946, Ch. 965, 60 Stat. 1080; the Act of August 5, 1947, Ch. 489, 61 Stat. 770; the Act of May 19, 1948, Ch. 310, 62 Stat. 240; P.L. 325, October 6, 1949, 63 Stat. 708; P.L. 85-624, August 12, 1958, 72 Stat. 563; and P.L. 89-72, 79 Stat. 216, July 9, 1965.

The Act of March 10, 1934, authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce to provide assistance to and cooperate with Federal and State agencies to protect, rear, stock, and increase the supply of game and fur-bearing animals, as well as to study the effects of domestic sewage, trade wastes, and other polluting substances on wildlife.

The Act also directs the Bureau of Fisheries to use impounded waters for fish-culture stations and migratory-bird resting and nesting areas and requires consultation with the Bureau of Fisheries prior to the construction of any new dams to provide for fish migration. In addition, this Act authorizes the preparation of plans to protect wildlife resources, the completion of wildlife surveys on public lands, and the acceptance by the Federal agencies of funds or lands for related purposes provided that land donations received the consent of the State in which they are located.

The amendments enacted in 1946 require consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the fish and wildlife agencies of States where the "waters of any stream or other body of water are proposed or authorized, permitted or licensed to be impounded, diverted . . . or otherwise controlled or modified" by any agency under a Federal permit or license. Consultation is to be undertaken for the purpose of "preventing loss of and damage to wildlife resources."

The amendments authorize the transfer of funds to the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct related investigations. Land made available to the Secretary of Interior for wildlife protection purposes is to be managed directly by or under cooperative agreements with the Secretary of Interior. General plans may also include the transfer of project lands to a State for management. The amendments authorized appropriations for related purposes and specifically exempted the Tennessee Valley Authority from its provisions.

Miscellaneous amendments in 1936, 1947, 1948, and 1949 authorized the following provisions respectively: 1) purchase of lands in Idaho for use as a game management supply depot and laboratory, 2) transfer of lands in connection with the Crab Orchard Creek Project to the Secretary of Interior, 3) use of surplus Federal property for wildlife conservation purposes, and 4) exchange of lands within the Skagit National Wildlife Refuge.

The 1958 amendments added provisions to recognize the vital contribution of wildlife resources to the Nation and to require equal consideration and coordination of wildlife conservation with other water resources development programs, and authorized the Secretary of Interior to provide public fishing areas and accept donations of lands and funds.

The amendments also titled the law as the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and expanded the instances in which diversions or modifications to water bodies would require consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service. These amendments permitted lands valuable to the Migratory Bird Management Program to be made available to the State agency exercising control over wildlife resources.

Return to Resource Laws