The primary purpose of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation (formerly known as Fisheries) Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region is to conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources throughout the Region. The Program also produces fish which provide economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 6 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, 2 Colorado River Fish Project Offices, 13 National Fish Hatcheries (one is a subset of the Ouray NFH and is managed by the CRFP-Grand Junction Office), a National Fish Technology and a National Fish Health Center serving Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
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The six Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices focus on managing populations and habitats for future generations by building partnerships that incorporate private landowners, tribal, local, and state governments, other federal agencies, and foreign nations to conserve fisheries and wildlife. Biologists throughout the Region support tribal fisheries and wildlife management programs; monitor and control invasive species (such as zebra mussels, and New Zealand snails); evaluate native fish stocks and their habitats; provide assistance to stakeholders on both fish and wildlife resource issues; collaborate on aquatic restoration with the National Fish Hatchery System; conduct scientific studies into fish and wildlife questions; restore habitat through the National Fish Passage Program and the National Fish Habitat Partnership ; work to prevent listing and recover species listed on the Endangered Species Act as well as other imperiled species; and collaborate with partners to conserve game species and migratory fishes that cross multiple jurisdictions such as Colorado River fishes, cutthroat trout, bull trout, pallid sturgeon, sage-grouse, wolves, and trumpeter swans especially on tribal and private lands and streams.
The Colorado River Fish Project Offices, located at Grand Junction, Colorado and vernal Utah work in assisting with recovery of four fish species native to the Colorado River that are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The Region’s 13 National Fish Hatcheries produce millions of coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater game fish every year for stocking in public lakes, rivers, and streams. Hatchery-raised fish meet legally mandated "mitigation" requirements, compensating for fish losses caused by federal water projects and associated dams. The hatcheries also raise native fish and other aquatic wildlife to help restore populations in the wild and to support recovery of threatened and endangered species. Two of the Mountain-Prairie hatcheries – one in Ennis, Montana and the other in Saratoga, Wyoming – are part of the National Broodstock Program, providing disease-free and genetically sound eggs to dozens of states, tribes, other hatcheries, and research facilities. These eggs support production of millions of fish for recreational angling opportunities, species recovery and restoration, mitigation, tribal subsistence fishing, and other fisheries activities.
PLEASE NOTE THAT FISHING LICENSES ARE DISTRIBUTED THROUGH THE STATE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENTS. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO FIND THE URLS FOR EACH OF THE EIGHT STATES IN THE MOUNTAIN-PRAIRIE REGION:
Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) is one of six Fish Technology Centers within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program working collaboratively with government, state, university, and private partners. Fish Technology Centers provide leadership in development of new concepts, strategies, and technologies for science-based conservation and management of aquatic resources. Applied research and technical services of the BFTC are focused in the fields of Conservation Physiology and Ecology, Fish Nutrition and Diet Development, Fish Passage and Screening, and Sensitive Aquatic Species Conservation.
Bozeman Fish Health Center (BFHC) is one of nine Fish Health Centers within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program working with partners to provide state-of-the-art aquatic animal health services to protect and enhance the health of aquatic animal resources for the continuing benefit of the American Public.
The Center‘s laboratories service federal, tribal, state, and commercial fishery programs. Three major areas of responsibility include:
- Inspection testing services for hatchery facilities to facilitate annual health certifications.
- Diagnostic assistance for chronic or acute health problems in cultured and wild stock.
National Wild Fish Health Survey to determine the distribution of fish pathogens in free-ranging fish populations.