About Us

The National Fish Habitat Partnership program is a comprehensive effort to treat the causes of fish habitat decline by maximizing the impact of limited funding for fish habitat conservation. Under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, federal, state, tribal, and privately raised funds are leveraged through regional Fish Habitat Partnerships to address the nation’s biggest fish habitat challenges. Fish Habitat Partnerships are the working units of the National Fish Habitat Partnership. These local partnerships implement strategically identified fish habitat conservation projects in communities and on waterways across the country. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a key partner in implementing the National Fish Habitat Partnership, along with states, tribes, other federal agencies, conservation organizations, and industry. Under the National Fish Habitat Partnership, we provide technical expertise, coordination, and funding and work directly with Fish Habitat Partnerships to identify, develop, and implement conservation projects.

Our Mission

The mission of the National Fish Habitat Partnership is to protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people.

National Fish Habitat Partnership Action Plan Goals: 
National Fish Habitat Action Plans

  • Protect and maintain intact and healthy aquatic systems.
  • Prevent further degradation of fish habitats that have been adversely affected.
  • Reverse declines in the quality and quantity of aquatic habitats to improve the overall health of fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Increase the quality and quantity of fish habitats that support a broad natural diversity of fish and other aquatic species.
Our History

2002: Due to the declines in America's fish populations and threats to both aquatic habitat and water quality, in 2002 the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council recommended that the Service initiate a partnership effort modeled after the highly effective North American Waterfowl Management Plan. 

2003: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies endorsed the concept and assumed a lead role in developing the comprehensive national fisheries habitat strategy in coordination with other existing fisheries habitat planning actions. The National Fish Habitat Initiative grew to become a science-based, voluntary, non-regulatory, nationwide strategy, endorsed by numerous partners and stakeholders, state fish and wildlife agency leaders, and 19 Federal agencies.

2006: The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is signed. The action plan, which was updated in 2012, is an important tool to help the Service and its partners achieve strategic conservation goals for aquatic resources. Since 2006, a great deal has been accomplished in support of the Action Plan, including:

  • Organization of a 22-member National Fish Habitat Board (the Board) to oversee implementation of the Action Plan.
  • Formal Board recognition of 20 Fish Habitat Partnerships.
  • Funding of hundreds of projects across the U.S. to protect, restore, and enhance priority habitats.
  • The development of the National Fish Habitat Partnership’s “Waters to Watch” campaign, which highlights progress made towards protecting or restoring specific aquatic habitats around the United States and the significant local and regional impacts of those conservation actions.

2012: The 2nd Edition of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan is finalized.

2020: America’s Conservation Enhancement Act codified the National Fish Habitat Partnership program into law, helping to ensure this collaborative, partnership-driven, conservation program will continue to protect, restore, and enhance the Nation’s fish habitat into the future.