The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions that protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

Our Services

The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) FOIA Office is responsible for Service-wide receipt, tracking, coordination, and providing timely responses to FOIA requests submitted to the Service in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. 552 and the Department regulations 43 C.F.R. Part 2.

Submitting a Request

Step 1. Do research and determine do you need to make a FOIA request? See if the information is already publicly available.  Resources to check include:     

Check the Service FOIA Reading Room which contains records released in response to previous FOIA request. 

The Service’s website which contain information on the mission of the Service and link to other program websites, to include a searchable library.

Environmental Conservation Online System (  ECOS ECOS
Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) serves a variety of reports related to FWS Threatened and Endangered Species.

Learn more about ECOS
 : ECOS: Home ( ) allows the public to search a variety of reports related to FWS Threatened and Endangered Species.  For example, listed/delisted species,  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
 consultations, critical habitat information, etc.).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ePermits ( provides the public information on permit application. The Service issues permits under various wildlife laws and treaties at different offices at the national, regional, and/or wildlife port levels. which serves  as the government’s comprehensive FOIA website for all information on the FOIA, among many other features, to locate records that are already available online.

If the information you want is not publicly available, move to Step 2.

Step 2. Are we the correct agency and bureau? It’s important that you identify the correct agency/bureau for your request.

The Department of the Interior (Department) has eleven Bureaus and a number of offices responsible for handling their own FOIA requests. Neither the Department or the Service maintain a central index or database of records in its possession. Instead, files are decentralized and maintained by various offices and regions throughout the country. This is why it is important that you submit your request to the correct bureau or office that you believe has the records you are seeking. For more information you can reach the Department and each Bureau.

If we are the correct bureau move to step 3.

Step 3. Ready to submit a Request?

You must reasonably describe the records sought. A reasonable description contains sufficient detail to allow a Service personnel familiar with the subject matter of the request to locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort.

You should include as much detail as possible about the specific records or types of records that you are seeking. This will assist us with identifying the records you are seeking. For example, when possible, identify:

(1) The date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject of any particular records you seek;

(2) The office that created the records you seek;

(3) The timeframe for which you are seeking records; and

(4) Any other information that will assist the bureau in locating the records.

You should know, if the Service determines that your request does not reasonably describe the records sought, we will inform you what additional information you need to provide in order to reasonably describe the records that you seek so the requested records can be located with a reasonable amount of effort. If the Service does not receive your written response containing the additional information within 20 workdays, we will presume that you are no longer interested in the records and will close the file on the request.

The Service’s FOIA Office/Requester Center can assist you in formulating or reformulating a request in an effort to better identify the records you seek. You may reach us by phone at 303-275-2348. 

Requests may be submitted online at through the Department's FOIA Public Access Link at (account required) or at (visit the for instructions on how to complete the online submission form).

If you can’t submit your request online you can file a request by physical mail to 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS : IRTM, Falls Church, VA 22041.

Note: We no longer accept request via email. The preceding is the only accepted form of submission.

Our Library

The FWS FOIA Libraries contain records that are required to be made available to the public under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), as well as other records that the Department (or one of its subparts) discretionarily makes available to the public for inspection and copying.