skip to content
Seining on the Cane River in North Carolina. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.


The Service’s mission is “working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people”. We recognize that we can’t do this work alone. To achieve our mission, the Service depends on partnerships with federal, state, non-government entities, and individuals.

Research conducted within the Service and through our scientific partnerships (highlighted below) helps ensure that our decisions can be informed by sound science. These partnerships also help us prioritize conservation and move listed species toward recovery and conserve at-risk species.

Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units (CESUs)

The Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units Network is a national, collaborative consortium of federal agencies, tribes, universities, state and local governments, and other partners. The CESU Network’s mission is to provide scientific research, technical assistance, and education on natural and cultural resource issues to federal land management, environmental organizations and research institutions.

CESUs provide a number of key benefits to the Service and other federal agencies:

  • CESUs help meet our needs for high quality, objective scientific research;
  • CESUs provide an additional avenue to engage universities;
  • CESUs save money through a reduced, capped indirect cost rate currently 17.5%;
  • CESUs are (intended to be) administratively simple, due to established processes and procedures.

Learn more about CESUs and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Southeast Region of FWS provides Technical (Laura Brandt) and Cooperative Agreement/Administrative (Steve Sponaugle) Representatives for three CESUs:

  • Piedmont South Atlantic Coast
  • South Florida Caribbean
  • Southern Appalachian Mountains

Joint Ventures

Migratory Bird Joint Ventures are cooperative, regional partnerships that work to conserve habitat for the benefit of birds, other wildlife, and people. Each Joint Venture has a Management Board, which is made up of key representatives from the organizations that form the JV partnership. The Management Board provides overall leadership, guidance, resources, and support to partners to ensure that the JV reaches its bird and habitat conservation goals.

Joint Ventures have one or more Technical Committees that serve as advisory groups to the JV and its staff. The primary role of the Technical Committee is to assist the JV in creating strategies, plans, and other guidance to advance the integrity and biological foundation of JVs’ bird conservation planning efforts. Technical committee members include scientists, land managers, biologists, and others with expertise in migratory bird science and conservation. The committee includes individuals from universities, federal agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, and non-governmental organizations

There are twenty-two habitat-based Joint Ventures, each addressing the bird habitat conservation issues found within their geographic area. In addition, three species-based Joint Ventures, all with an international scope, work to further the scientific understanding needed to effectively manage populations of specific bird species.

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are applied conservation science partnerships, composed of federal agencies, states, tribes, non-governmental organizations, universities, and others that work together at defined geographical areas to tackle landscape-scale approaches to effective conservation science and planning. Each LCC is a collaborative, self-directed partnership that connects individual agencies and entities with a common landscape vision, and strengthens our conservation approach by promoting partnerships, harnessing different groups strengths and abilities, and engaging in collegial collaboration. LCCs support biological planning, conservation planning, and strategic habitat conservation; provide a forum to share information and data products; help partners identify common goals and priorities; and evaluate the effectiveness of scientific information and conservation actions.

In Region 4, there are six individual LCCs that together comprise a seamless national network that supports landscapes capable of allowing for healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats. These include the: Appalachian, Caribbean, Gulf Coast Prairie, Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks, Peninsular Florida, and South Atlantic LCC Networks.

Learn more about how approach conservation through large landscapes.

Flyway Councils

Since 1948, migratory game birds have been managed by four administrative Flyways that are based on those migration paths: the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways. Each Flyway has a Flyway Council which is a formal organization composed of one member from each State and Province in that Flyway.

Each of the Flyways also has a Technical Committee composed of waterfowl biologists from the states and provinces in the Flyway. The Technical Committees meet several times annually to review the biological data from monitoring programs and provide recommendations to their respective Flyway Councils. Recommendations that are adopted by the Flyway Councils are presented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regulations Committee for consideration in the setting of waterfowl hunting regulations and management programs.

The Flyway Councils and Technical Committees are involved in many aspects of migratory game bird management, including development of recommendations for hunting regulations and assisting in research and habitat management activities. Some of the important waterfowl hunting regulations that are set each year, including season length and daily bag limits, are specific to these individual Flyways.

State Wildlife Agencies

Traditional Section 6 (Endangered Species Act) grants provide funding to States and Territories for species and habitat research and conservation actions on non-Federal lands. A State or Territory must have a cooperative agreement with the Service to receive grant funds. FWS awarded over $11.5 million in FY 16 for traditional Section 6 grant programs. Funded activities include habitat restoration, water quality studies, species status surveys, public education and outreach, captive propagation and reintroduction, nesting surveys, genetic studies, development of management plans, and other research and management actions.

Contact Us:

Looking for a media contact? Reach out to a regional spokesperson.

Share this page

Tweet this page on Twitter or follow @USFWSsoutheast

Share this page on Facebook or follow USFWSsoutheast.


Share this page on LinkedIn