The Mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau within the Department of Interior, is the premier
government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife
and plants, and their habitats. It is the only agency in the federal government whose primary
responsibility is management of these important natural resources for the American public.
The Service also helps ensure a healthy environment for people through its work benefiting
wildlife, and by providing opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors and our shared
The Service manages the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of 551 national
wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It operates
70 national fish hatcheries, 65 fishery resource offices and 86 ecological services field stations.
The agency also manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries,
conserves and restores wildlife habitat and helps foreign governments with their conservation
The Service is responsible for implementing and enforcing some of our Nation’s most important
environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Marine Mammal
Protection, North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Lacey Act. It also oversees the Federal
Aid program responsible for distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on
fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.