The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
One of the greatest success stories of the Endangered Species Act, the bald eagle, has made an amazing comeback from a low of about 400 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states in the early 1960s, to nearly 10,000 when the species was removed from the Endangered Species list in 2007. The decline of the bird known as "America's symbol" was largely blamed on the pesticide DDT, which caused a thinning of its eggshells, as well as habitat destruction and illegal shooting. Concerns about the bald eagle resulted in its protection in 1967 under the predecessor to the Endangered Species Act, and DDT was banned in 1972. Those two steps started the species on the road to recovery, and the bald eagle was downlisted from "endangered" to "threatened" in 1995.
In 1988, the first bald eagle nest in North Dakota since 1975 was documented along the Missouri River. At the time of delisting in 2007, at least 20 active bald eagle nests were located in various parts of the state. Although no longer listed as an endangered or threatened species, the bald eagle remains protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibit "taking"--killing, selling, or otherwise harming eagles, their nests, or eggs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to work with State wildlife agencies to monitor eagles. Should it appear that the bald eagle again needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can propose to relist the species.
The remarkable recovery of the bald eagle is a testament to what can be accomplished when many parties work together for the common good.