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FWS Mission

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lewis and Clark image of Lewis and Clark
Commemorating the
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Our Mission

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

    Lewis and Clark were the first to describe a number of new species of animals and plants that have since become extinct, including the Carolina parakeet. Other species that seemed abundant to Lewis and Clark, like the wolf, grizzly bear and condor, are today federally listed as threatened or endangered. Some species, like the bison and trumpeter swan, once were on the verge of extinction but have been recovered through conservation efforts.

    In 1973, Congress created the Endangered Species Act, widely regarded as the world's strongest and most effective wildlife conservation law. It set an ambitious goal: to reverse the alarming trend of human-created extinctions of native plants and animals. Congress gave the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the responsibility of identifying and protecting endangered species, and restoring their numbers.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in many ways in the protection and restoration of the environment along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps protect and restore a healthy environment for fish and wildlife ... and for people. Landowner assistance programs and grants encourage people to maintain and conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats right there in their own hometowns. These voluntary programs emphasize the reestablishment of native vegetation and ecological communities for the benefit of fish and wildlife in concert with the needs and desires of private landowners.

  • The National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters dedicated to the conservation and management of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats, includes 26 refuges along the Lewis and Clark Trail. National wildlife refuges provide some of the best opportunities to view the landscapes and wildlife and plant species seen by Lewis and Clark.

  • The National Fish Hatchery System, originally established to provide additional domestic food fish to replace declining native populations, now plays a unique role in endangered species recovery and restoration of native aquatic populations. Six national fish hatcheries and the Abernathy Fish Technology Center, which conducts applied research for recovery and restoration of Pacific salmon and sturgeon, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout/steelhead, and lamprey, are located along the Lewis and Clark Trail. [hotlink to map]

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the main federal agency dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitat from pollution's harmful effects, helping to create a healthy world for all living things. The Service's Environmental Contaminants Program is on the front lines in the fight against pollution, detecting toxic chemicals; addressing their effects; preventing harm to fish, wildlife and their habitats; and removing toxic chemicals and restoring habitat when prevention isn't possible.