Osprey Rescue

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary federal agency responsible for conserving and enhancing the nation's fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the FWS shares this responsibility with other federal, state, tribal, local and private entities, the FWS has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands and other special aquatic habitats. The FWS also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats.

  • We're Everywhere

    Polar Bear

    Yes, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages public land, like Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge. But that's only part of the story. From tagging polar bears in the frozen Arctic Circle to cleaning oil spills in the tidelands of Louisiana, from testing fish for agricultural contaminants in the shrub-steppe of eastern Washington to reviewing hydropower proposals in the rugged mountains of West Virginia, from providing grants for local wildlife conservation in Michigan to raising endangered sturgeon at hatcheries in Oregon, the FWS can be found anywhere wildlife might be impacted. Sure you've seen pictures of FWS personnel releasing wolves into Yellowstone National Park or California condors into the canyons of Arizona. But FWS agents can be found working in airport terminals in Miami looking for smuggled endangered turtles from South America. FWS personal can be found on university campuses working on lamprey control in the Great Lakes. Within the FWS, conservation is more than national wildlife refuges.

    And it's often more than conservation of wildlife. Like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protecting wilderness, wild & scenic rivers and other protected areas found within lands the agency manages. Like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protection of Native American trust resources. And like other federal agencies, the FWS is responsible for protecting historic and cultural resources found on its lands, from Traditional Cultural Properties on the Hanford Reach National Monument to the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House on Conboy Lake NWR, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act

    American White Pelicans

    National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997: The NWRS Improvement Act defines a unifying mission for all refuges, including a process for determining compatible uses on refuges, and requiring that each refuge be managed according to a management plan. The Improvement Act expressly states that wildlife conservation is the priority of National Wildlife Refuge System lands and that the Secretary of the Interior shall ensure that the biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the specific purposes for which the refuge was established and the National Wildlife Refuge System mission. The first priority of each refuge is to conserve, manage, and if needed, restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats according to its purpose.

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