The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Greater Sage-Grouse CCAA for Wyoming Ranch Management
Prior to settlement in the 19th century, Greater sage-grouse (hereafter referred to as 'sage-grouse') inhabited 13 western States and 3 Canadian provinces, and their potential habitat covered over 1,200,483 km2 (463,509 mi2). They have declined across their range for a variety of causes, and now occur in 11 States and 2 Canadian provinces. Many factors played a role in reducing sage-grouse from a once abundant, broadly distributed species, but the primary threat is loss of habitat due to increased surface disturbance and the general fragmentation of the landscape. These concerns were identified as primary threats in the 2005 Endangered Species Act (ESA) finding and remain so, but with more intensity and on a larger scale today. In the 2010 finding, additional concerns have been identified including an increase in the use of sagebrush habitat for renewable energy such as wind power, and the spread of West Nile Virus.
In anticipation of the finding decision, the Wyoming Governor's Office (WGO) requested assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in developing a sage-grouse strategy for ranch management activities that could offer landowners assurances that their livestock operations could continue, in the event the bird were listed under the ESA. The WGO and FWS in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S Forest Service, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts have developed an umbrella Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA).
A CCAA is a voluntary agreement whereby landowners agree to manage their lands to remove or reduce threats to species at risk of being listed under the ESA. In return for managing their lands to the benefit of a species at risk, landowners receive assurances against additional regulatory requirements should that species ever be listed under the ESA. Under a CCAA, the FWS will issue enrolled landowners Enhancement of Survival permits pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA for a period of 20 years. Permits would be issued to participating landowners contingent on development of a site-specific sage-grouse conservation plan that is consistent with this CCAA. This umbrella CCAA includes:
A general description of responsibilities of all involved Participating Agencies and landowners, and the area to be covered under the umbrella CCAA;
Background, status and general threats to sage-grouse, and conservation measures needed to remove or reduce those identified threats;
Expected benefits of prescribed actions in relation to the five threat factors that the FWS is required to evaluate when considering a species for listing; and
Level of take, assurances, monitoring and annual reporting.