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As our human population grows and cities expand, interactions between people and wildlife are becoming more common. While conservation efforts of the USFWS, our partners, and you can help minimize the negative impacts of these encounters, there are some activities that cannot avoid some disturbance to wildlife.

To address this reality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife has set up a series of permits that help to balance the needs of people and wildlife and minimize the impact of certain activities. Explore the topics below to find general information and application instructions.

  • Migratory Bird Permits

    Photo of a common yellowthroat calling by photographer George Gentry on behalf of the USFWS

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act are laws which protects native birds, similar to how the Endangered Species Act protects threatened and endangered species. The regulatory definition of a migratory bird is much broader than what most of us consider a migratory bird and includes almost all bird species native to the United States.

    Pacific NW and Pacific Islands Migratory Bird Permits website

  • Bald and Golden Eagle Permits

    Photo of a bald eagle in flight by photographer George Gentry on behalf of the USFWS

    Bald and Golden eagles are magnificent birds of prey and enjoy special protection in the United States under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Act gives the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service the authority to protect and manage these birds, including monitoring and assessing their numbers, which we do cooperatively with States, Tribes, NGO partners, and industry.

    Pacific NW Bald and Golden Eagle Permit website

  • Marine Mammal Permits

    Sea Otter

    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), enacted in 1972, was the first legislation that called for an ecosystem approach to natural resource management and conservation. The MMPA prohibits the hunting, killing, capture, and /or harassment of marine mammals and puts a moratorium on the import, export, and sale of marine mammal parts and products.

    The Service was given authority for the conservation and management of sea and marine otters, walrus, polar bear, three species of manatees, and dugong.

    The National Marine Fisheries Service was given the responsibility to conserve and manage pinnepeds other than walrus (i.e., seals and sea lions) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins).

    More on Marine Mammal Permits

  • Endangered Species Permits

    Photo of a common yellowthroat calling by photographer George Gentry on behalf of the USFWS

    Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act is designed to regulate a wide range of activities affecting plants and animals designated as endangered or threatened, and the habitats upon which they depend. With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities affecting these protected species and their habitats unless authorized by a permit from the USFWS of NOAA-Fisheries.

    Section 10 Permits

  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

    Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife logo

    Many permits related to wildlife in Washington are administered through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), a state-level agency (the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is a federal-level agency). These permits include those related to hunting, fishing, invasive species, and many others.

    Visit the WDFW page for more info

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