Laws and Regulations

As our human population grows and cities expand, interactions between people and wildlife are becoming more common. While conservation efforts of the USFWS, our partners, and you can help minimize the negative impacts of these encounters, there are some activities that cannot avoid some disturbance to wildlife.

To address this reality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife has set up a series of permits that help to balance the needs of people and wildlife and minimize the impact of certain activities. Explore the topics below to find general information and application instructions.

Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC)

Information for Planning and Consultation is a digital project planning tool that provides information to project proponents to help determine whether a project will have effects on federally listed species or designated critical habitat, as well as other sensitive resources managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a decision-support tool, IPaC IPaC
Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) is a project planning tool that streamlines the USFWS environmental review process

Learn more about IPaC
 improves the consultation process by informing more accurate and consistent determinations.

Who can use it?

IPaC is available to anyone, whether a private citizen or public employee, who needs information to help determine how certain activities may impact species protected under the Endangered Species Act and associated natural resources, and would like to obtain suggestions to address these impacts.

Get Started

Visit IPaC to quickly and easily identify Service-managed resources and suggested conservation measures for your project. LEARN MORE ABOUT IPAC 

Section 7 Consultation

The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and provide a program for the conservation of such species. The ESA directs all federal agencies to participate in conserving these species. Specifically, section 7(a)(1) of the ESA charges federal agencies to aid in the conservation of listed species, and section 7(a)(2) requires the agencies to ensure their activities are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of federally listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.

For Section 7 Section 7
Section 7 Consultation The Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs all Federal agencies to work to conserve endangered and threatened species and to use their authorities to further the purposes of the Act. Section 7 of the Act, called "Interagency Cooperation," is the mechanism by which Federal agencies ensure the actions they take, including those they fund or authorize, do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species.

Learn more about Section 7
Consultation in the Pacific Islands visit NOAA Fisheries.

Section 10 Endangered Species Permits

Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act is designed to regulate a wide range of activities affecting plants and animals designated as endangered or threatened, and the habitats upon which they depend. With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities affecting these protected species and their habitats unless authorized by a permit from the USFWS of NOAA-Fisheries.

The most commonly requested permits are native endangered and threatened species permits under the Endangered Species Act.  Permits are issued to qualified applicants for the following types of activities:  

Enhancement of Survival Permits are designed to...

Provide landowners with a mechanism to promote endangered species conservation their land and are used in with Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. 

Incidental Take Permits are required for...

Non-federal entities, when otherwise lawful activities may result in take of endangered or threatened animal species. A habitat conservation plan must accompany an application for an incidental take permit to ensure that the effects of the authorized incidental take are adequately minimized and mitigated.

For more information on Incidental Take Permits:

Recovery Permits are required for...

Activities that help the recovery of listed species. A typical use of a recovery permit is to allow for scientific research on a listed species in order to understand better the species’ long-term survival needs.

Migratory Bird Permit

Human demands on migratory birds leave them vulnerable. Permits enable the public to engage in specific activities consistent with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act while providing a means to balance use and conservation. Permits also allow us to build partnerships and monitor activities to determine how they affect migratory bird populations.

As authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits to qualified applicants for activities such as falconry, raptor propagation, scientific collecting, special purposes (rehabilitation, educational, migratory game bird propagation, and salvage), take of depredating birds, taxidermy, and waterfowl sale and disposal.

Hunting and Fishing Permits

We do not issue hunting and fishing licenses. Instead, those are issued by State Wildlife Agencies.

More information can be found in our Library