What We Do

Through a series of laws created over the last century, Americans have declared that we need to collectively protect landscapes, fish, wildlife, and plants.

Several agencies in the federal government put our country's conservation laws into action, and the Ecological Services Program helps lead the way.

We administer the Endangered Species Act, working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to build the road to recovery to bring them back. We working with our partners in federal and state agencies, tribes, local governments, the business community, and private citizens, to help protect important habitat, and help increase species' populations and reduce the threats to their survival so that they can be removed from federal protection.

To better understand these wild places, we map, monitor, and inventory our nation's wetlands. We provide guidance and expertise to protect wildlife for projects such as wind farms and large scale transportation developments meeting our society's growing energy and transportation needs.

Our environmental contaminant specialists review project plans, licenses, even proposed laws and regulations, to avoid or minimize harmful effects on wildlife and habitats.

In cases of significant releases of hazardous waste, they work in the field to pinpoint sources of pollution and investigate effects, using this data to secure compensation for lost or damaged wildlife and habitat.

Management and Conservation

With offices in all 50 states, the Ecological Services Program is working with you to meet the challenge of conserving the nature of America.

When we protect species and habitats, we conserve the natural resources on which we all depend. We ensure that wetlands persist to protect us from storms and filter our water. We conserve for future generations a continued source of sustainable land. Wild things and wild places are part of our shared history. They are part of the natural foundation of the lands we call home.

Our Programs

Aerial view of an undeveloped coastal freshwater pond.
We administer the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), which encourages the conservation of storm-prone and dynamic coastal barriers by withdrawing the availability of federal funding and financial assistance within a designated set of units known as the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS)....
Pronghorn running through sagebrush with natural gas field facility in background.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works collaboratively with other federal agencies, industries, and other stakeholders to achieve infrastructure development goals in ways that are sustainable and compatible with the conservation of fish, wildlife, and their habitats.
Close up of a California condor. Its pink featherless head contrasts with its black feathers.
We provide national leadership in the recovery and conservation of our nation's imperiled plant and animal species, working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to build the road to recovery to bring them back. We work with a range of public...
Wading bird stands in oil damaged marsh.
We provide national leadership in the protection and restoration of fish, wildlife, and habitats that have been threatened or injured by oil discharges, releases of hazardous substances, or other emerging contaminants of concern.
A polar bear has black eyes and nose, and small ears, in a thick pelt of white fur.
We provide leadership in the conservation and management of our nation's marine mammals under our jurisdiction – sea otters, Pacific walruses, polar bears, and West Indian manatees – as well as the marine ecosystems that support them.
Large pool of water surrounded by low tundra grasses under cloud covered sky.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the extent and status of the nation’s wetland and deepwater habitats, as well as changes to these habitats over time.

Our Laws and Regulations

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d), enacted in 1940, and amended several times since, prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from "taking" bald or golden eagles, including their parts (including feathers), nests, or eggs....

The Endangered Species Act establishes protections for fish, wildlife, and plants that are listed as threatened or endangered; provides for adding species to and removing them from the list of threatened and endangered species, and for preparing and implementing plans for their recovery;...

The Federal Power Act provides that each license for hydropower projects issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission includes fish ways prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior or Commerce, and that conditions for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of fish and wildlife based on...

Section 404 (m) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) authorizes the Service to comment on permit applications submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters of the United States. Section 208(i) authorizes...

The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act directs the Service to investigate and report on proposed Federal actions that affect any stream or other body of water and to provide recommendations to minimize impacts on fish and wildlife resources.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act establishes a moratorium on taking and importing marine mammals, including parts and products. Defines the Federal responsibility for conservation of marine mammals, with management authority vested in the Department for the sea otter, walrus, polar bear, dugong...

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) provides that the Service examine the environmental impacts, incorporate environmental information, and use public participation in the planning and implementation of all actions; integrate NEPA with other planning requirements; prepare NEPA...

Congress passed the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 to address problems caused by coastal barrier development. CBRA restricts most Federal expenditures and financial assistance that tend to encourage development, including Federal flood insurance, in the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier...