Description: Department of the Interior Logo

United States Department of the Interior

                                     FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
                                               Washington, D.C. 20240

 Effective: March 3, 1989

Expires: Indefinite


SUBJECT: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Policy Issuance System

 A. POLICY: All official actions taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) or by its personnel, as representatives of the Service, shall be consistent with established Service policy. Service policy will be promulgated as National Policy Issuances or Regional Policy Issuances. Such Issuances will supersede any previous Service policy dealing with the same subject even if the superseded policy is not cited specifically in the new Issuance.

B. SCOPE: Servicewide.

C. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the Policy Issuance System is to provide all Service personnel and other appropriate persons ready access to clear and current statements of Service policy. This system will:

1. establish and maintain a formal, centrally coordinated, Servicewide system that will identify and correct policy that is obsolete, redundant or inadequate;

2. ensure that policy accurately reflects priorities of the Director and is consistent with statutory or other requirements;

3. enable the rapid and uniform distribution of policy throughout the Service;

4. develop and maintain current compilations of policy;

5. provide for the establishment of systems that will develop and maintain regional policy that are compatible with national policy.

Procedures to accomplish this are provided in the appendix.

D. DEFINITIONS: Terms with special meanings, as used in the context of this system, are defined in the appendix.


1. It will be the responsibility of each Service official charged with maintaining a National Policy Reference Book to ensure that:

a. the National Policy Reference Book is kept up-to-date and contains one copy of each current National Policy Issuance and Regional Policy Issuance;

b. subordinate Service personnel are advised promptly and fully concerning the content of any relevant Policy Issuance received; and

c. the National Policy Reference Book is maintained in manner and location that makes it readily available to Service personnel.

2. It will be the responsibility of all supervisors of individuals who maintain National Policy Reference Books to ensure that the above is accomplished.

F. AUTHORITIES: Authority to establish and maintain this system includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

1. U.S. Department of the Interior Manual, (381DM1); and

2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Administrative Manual, (1 AM 2).

In some instances, policies issued in this system also will be subject to the procedures or rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

G. SUPERSESSIONS: All existing national and regional policies of the Service remain in effect until they are incorporated in, modified by or superseded by policies promulgated in the Policy Issuance System.

The policy and procedures spelled out in this Issuance supersede and replace all earlier Service policy dealing with the promulgation of Service policy; EXCEPT those required by treaty, law, Executive Order, regulation or other official policy which has been promulgated by the Department of the Interior.



NPI#: 89-01




This Appendix describes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Policy Issuance System and prescribes how Policy Issuances will be promulgated and maintained.


1. The system provides for publishing two types of Policy:

a. National Policy impacts upon two or more Service Regions; involves interactions with foreign governments, States or other Federal Agencies, or is determined by the Director to be national in scope; and

b. Regional Policy provides guidance in situations unique to a single Service Region or involves a subject area the Director has not determined to be national in scope. Regional Policy may be used to tailor National Policy to fit circumstances unique to that Region. Regional Policy may not supersede or conflict with National Policy.

2. National and Regional policy may be permanent or interim. All policy will remain in effect until superseded in writing or until a designated expiration date is reached.


1. National Policy. National Policy may be established, modified or terminated only in writing and only by the Director, Deputy Director or Acting Director.

2. Regional Policy. Regional Policy may be established, modified or terminated only in writing and only by the Regional Director, Deputy. Regional Director, or Acting.Regional Director.

3. Local Policy. Nothing in this system is to be construed to prevent supervisors from developing standard operating procedures or other local "policies" needed to carry out their duties in an efficient, orderly manner; PROVIDED that such local policies are consistent with Regional and National Policy.


Terms used in this Issuance and Appendix are defined as follows:

1. "National Policy Issuances" are documents used to officially promulgate the Service's National Policy.

2. "National Policy Reference Books" are compendia of National, Regional and Local (if any) Policy.

3. "Policy." Policy is a formal expression of the Director's (or Regional Director's) expectations concerning how the Service and its personnel, as representatives of the Service, are to act in their official capacities in regard to certain situations, issues, or activities.

4. "Regional Policy Issuances" are documents used to officially promulgate Service Regional Policy.


1. National Policy. The Deputy Director-Staff is responsible for managing the process of developing National Policy Issuances.

2. Regional Policy. Regional Directors may establish procedures for the identification and review of Regional Policy and the preparation of Regional Policy Issuances to meet their needs; PROVIDED that they are not inconsistent with this Appendix.

3. Service policy will evolve to meet changing conditions. Recognition of the need to develop, terminate or modify policy can originate at any level within the Service.


Policy Issuances will contain sufficient detail to provide clear and unambiguous direction. The typical format is outlined below.

1. National Policy Issuance Number. Mandatory. The Office of the Director will assign each National Policy Issuance a number. Each number will have two digits identifying the calendar year in which the Policy Issuance was signed, followed by sequential numbering for that calendar year.

Example: The 5th policy issued in 1989 will be numbered #89-05.

If a National Policy Issuance changes an existing Issuance, the new Issuance number will be followed by the notation "REVISION" and will identify the number of the revised document.

Example: A policy issued in 1990 (as the 3rd Issuance of that calendar year) that revises Issuance #89-05 would be numbered as follows: #90-03 (REVISION OF #89-05)

The first National Policy Issuance of each calendar year will consist of an index of all Issuances that are current and in effect.

2. Effective Date. Mandatory. This is the date the policy becomes effective. This will be the date the Issuance is signed, unless particular circumstances require a different date.

3. Expiration Date. Mandatory. Policy Issuances will remain in effect until superseded in writing, so the following notation will usually be inserted following the word EXPIRES: "Indefinite"

National or Regional Issuances may be promulgated on an interim basis, but in no event shall interim policy be effective for more than one year.

4. Subject. Mandatory. This is the name of the policy.

5. Policy. Mandatory. This will be a clear, concise statement of the policy. While brevity is highly desirable, information in this section will be sufficiently detailed to ensure the policy will be clearly understood. If a policy requires a lengthy (more than 2 pages) presentation, the policy should be summarized in this section and the more detailed presentation' should be set forth in an appendix.

6. Scope. Mandatory. This entry will define clearly the geographic, subject, or organizational areas addressed by the policy.

7. Purpose, Objectives and/or Context. Optional (but usually included). This entry should enable the reader to understand what the policy is intended to accomplish and/or the context in which it was developed so that he or she can better understand how to implement the policy effectively.

8. Definitions. When needed. Avoid jargon and use terms that can be defined with a standard dictionary. However, if terms are used that have special meaning in the context of a particular policy those terms should be defined.

9. Action Required/Responsibilities/Implementation Considerations. This entry should be used to identify specific action needed, those expected to carry it out, and any known public, political, biological or other special concerns.

10. Authorities. When needed. Authorities (treaties, laws, regulations, Executive Orders, etc.) should be cited only when needed to minimize questions concerning the basis of a given policy.

11. Incorporation/Supersession. Mandatory. Unless the context dictates otherwise, National Policy Issuances routinely will carry the message that: "This policy supersedes all earlier Service policy dealing with this subject."

When a new Issuance modifies or supersedes an existing Issuance, the earlier document must be cited. Any other policy documents that are modified or superseded should be cited.

12. Filing and Distribution Instructions. Optional until a set of filing categories has been adopted.


1. Working Copies. National Policy Reference Books will be maintained by and at the work stations of all Service line and supervisory staff officers through at least the following organizational levels:

a. Headquarters: Branch Chiefs;

b. Regional Offices: Division Chiefs;

c. Research and Development Centers. Laboratories and Cooperative Fish and/or Wildlife Research Units: Section Chiefs, Unit Leaders or their equivalents;

d. Field Stations: Field Supervisors, Project Leaders, Station Managers or their equivalents;

e. Persons-in-Charge of any sub-unit housed physically remote from its parent unit (i.e., in a different building); and

f. Any other Service employee designated by the Director, Deputy Director or Regional Director.

2. Copies for Newly Established Positions. Whenever a new position falling into one of the above categories is established, it will be the responsibility of the relevant Regional Director or Assistant Director to provide an initial issue National Policy Reference Book and to assure that the new position is added to the Policy Reference Book mailing list.


1. Originals. Signed originals of National Policy Issuances will be maintained in the Director's National Policy Reference Book.

2. Distribution. When a National Policy Issuance is printed, it will be mailed directly to all holders of National Policy Reference Books.

3. Regional Policy Issuances maybe distributed as the Regional Director directs; PROVIDED that the following distribution is made:

a. one copy to the Office of the Director;

b. one copy to each Regional Director; and

c. one copy to each holder of a National Policy Reference Book located within the geographic boundaries of the issuing Regional Director's Region, including Research and Development personnel.

4. Maintenance. Service personnel issued a National Policy reference Book will keep it current.

Holders of National Policy Reference Books may maintain any policy-related information they wish in their book but, as a minimum, each book will obtain a copy of each current National Policy Issuance and appropriate Regional Policy Issuance.

5. Initial Issues to Newly Established Positions.

a. National Policy Issuances. Upon being notified of the establishment of a new position, requiring a National Policy Reference Book, the Division of Policy and Directives Management will provide an initial issue of all current National Policy Issuances to the new position.

b. Regional Policy Issuances. Regional Directors will provide all current Regional Policy Issuances to any employee in a new position that is responsible for maintaining a National Policy Reference Book.


1. Archival Copies. Original copies of obsolete National Policy Issuance and copies of obsolete Regional Policy Issuances incorporated into the Director's Copy will be retained permanently as historical records.

Original copies of obsolete Regional Policy Issuances will be retained as historical documents in the Regional Office that issued them.

2. National Policy Issuances. When a National Policy Issuance as expired or has been superseded or revoked, the document will be removed from the Policy Reference Book and discarded.

3. Regional Policy. Issuances. Obsolete Regional Policy Issuances will be disposed of as prescribed by the Regional Director.

4. National Policy Reference Books. National Policy Reference Books are to be considered "station property" and will remain at the station to which they were issued and are among the items to be accounted for when personnel changes occur.

If a position to which a National Policy Reference Book has been issued is abolished, the National Policy Reference Book and its contents will be returned to the Office of the Director.

For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management, at 

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