United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS or FWS) is an agency of the US Federal Government within the US Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. The mission of the agency is "working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."

Aurelia Skipwith is current President Donald Trump's nominee.[7]

Among the responsibilities of the FWS are enforcing federal wildlife laws; protecting endangered species; managing migratory birds; restoring nationally significant fisheries; conserving and restoring wildlife habitat, such as wetlands; helping foreign governments with their international conservation efforts; and distributing money to states' fish and wildlife agencies through the Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program.[8]

Sub-units of the FWS include:

The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is on non-federal state or private land. Therefore, the FWS works closely with private groups such as Partners in Flight and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to promote voluntary habitat conservation and restoration.

The FWS employs approximately 9,000 people and is organized into a central administrative office in Falls Church, Virginia, eight regional offices, and nearly 700 field offices distributed throughout the United States.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Seal of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Flag of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Flag of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Agency overview
FormedJune 30, 1940
Preceding agencies
  • Bureau of Biological Survey
  • Bureau of Fisheries
JurisdictionUnited States Federal Government
HeadquartersBailey's Crossroads, Virginia, US[Note 1]
38°50′44″N 77°07′12″W / 38.845663°N 77.120087°WCoordinates: 38°50′44″N 77°07′12″W / 38.845663°N 77.120087°W
Employeesc. 9,000 (2010)
Annual budgetUS$2.32 billion (2008)
Agency executive
  • Greg Sheehan, Director (acting)
Parent agencyUS Department of the Interior
Heather Bartlett USFWS
Arctic Refuge Law Enforcement Officer Heather Bartlett stands alongside her Super Cub, 2009


FWS patrol vehicles 1950
FWS patrol vehicles, Alaska 1950
Sean Edwards (40680590754)
FWS personnel in uniform

The FWS originated in 1871 as the United States Commission on Fish and Fisheries, more commonly referred to as the United States Fish Commission, created by the United States Congress with the purpose of studying and recommending solutions to a noted decline in the stocks of food fish. Spencer Fullerton Baird was appointed its first commissioner. In 1903, the Fish Commission was reorganized as the United States Bureau of Fisheries.

In 1885–1886, the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy (in 1885 it was the Section of Economic Ornithology)[10] was established within the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1896 it became the Division of Biological Survey. Its early work focused on the effect of birds in controlling agricultural pests and mapping the geographical distribution of plants and animals in the United States. Clinton Hart Merriam headed the Bureau for 25 years and became a national figure for improving the scientific understanding of birds and mammals in the United States. Jay Norwood Darling was appointed Chief of the new Bureau of Biological Survey in 1934; the same year Congress passed the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), one of the oldest federal environmental review statutes.[11] Under Darling's guidance, the Bureau began an ongoing legacy of protecting vital natural habitat throughout the country. The FWS was created in 1940, when the Bureaus of Fisheries and Biological Survey were combined after being moved to the Department of the Interior. In 1959, the methods used by FWS's Animal Damage Control Program were featured in the Tom Lehrer song "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park".[12]

The FWS governs six US National Monuments:

Tribal relations

Pursuant to the eagle feather law, Title 50, Part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22), and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the US Fish and Wildlife Service administers the National Eagle Repository and the permit system for Native American religious use of eagle feathers.[14][15][16] These exceptions often only apply to Native Americans that are registered with the federal government and are enrolled with a federally recognized tribe.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the FWS began to incorporate the research of tribal scientists into conservation decisions.[17] This came on the heels of Native American traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) gaining acceptance in the scientific community as a reasonable and respectable way to gain knowledge of managing the natural world.[18][19] Additionally, other natural resource agencies within the United States government, such as the USDA, have taken steps to be more inclusive of tribes, native people, and tribal rights.[20] This has marked a transition to a relationship of more co-operation rather than the tension between tribes and government agencies seen historically. Today, these agencies work closely with tribal governments to ensure the best conservation decisions are made and that tribes retain their sovereignty .[21][22]

See also

Related governmental agencies

Regulatory matters

Wildlife management

Other related topics


1. ^ USFWS headquarters has a Falls Church, Virginia, US mailing address.[1]


  1. ^ a b "US Fish and Wildlife Service Moving to Bailey's Crossroads?". Falls Church, VA Patch. August 6, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "GSA Announces New Lease for US Fish and Wildlife Service". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  3. ^ "Zinke taps Utah wildlife director to head US Fish and Wildlife Service". Spokesman.com. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  4. ^ [1] Archived November 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [2] Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ USFWS - National Organizational Chart. Fws.gov. Retrieved on August 12, 2013.
  7. ^ https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-applauds-president-trumps-nomination-aurelia-skipwith-be-director-us
  8. ^ "About WSFR". US Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  9. ^ "Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network". www.lccnetwork.org.
  10. ^ "USGS Patuxent wildlife Research Center: Biological Survey Unit History". www.pwrc.usgs.gov.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Ronald H., and Olson, Allen H., Federal Environmental Review Requirements Other than NEPA: The Emerging Challenge (1978). CLEVELAND STATE LAW REVIEW [Vol. 27: 195. 1978] FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW. In Faculty Publications. Paper 672. College of William and Mary Law School
  12. ^ Faulkner, Clarence (May 1, 1999). "As It Was in Region 5,1949-1964". The Probe. 200: 7 – via DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln, "City-wide pigeon control in Boston, MA using strychnine-treated whole corn".
  13. ^ "Presidential Proclamation --- Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion". September 25, 2014.
  14. ^ "National Eagle Repository". fws.gov.
  15. ^ "Eagle Parts for Native American Religious Purposes" (PDF). fws.org.
  16. ^ "Title 50 Part 22 Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22)]". ecfr.gpoaccess.gov. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  17. ^ Service, US Fish and Wildlife. "Fish and Wildlife Service - Native American Program". www.fws.gov. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Berkes, Fikret (2000). "Rediscovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as Adaptive Management". Ecological Applications 10, No. 5 (2000): 1251-1262.
  19. ^ Huntington, Henry (2000). "Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Science: Methods and Applications". Ecological Applications 10, No. 5 (2000): 1270-1274.
  20. ^ Banegas, Diane, "Native American Students Mentored by Forest Service Scientists," US Forest Service (blog), April 5, 2016 (1:00pm), http://blogs.usda.gov/2016/04/05/native-american-students-mentored-by-forest-service-scientists/.
  21. ^ "Office of Tribal Relations | USDA". www.usda.gov. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  22. ^ Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service | Endangered Species. "Endangered Species Program | What We Do | Working with Tribes | Tribal Partnership Stories | American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act". www.fws.gov. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  23. ^ https://www.fws.gov/international/wildlife-without-borders/ramsar-wetlands-convention.html
  24. ^ https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/

Further reading

External links

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge

This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in northwestern Oregon, 10 miles (16 km) west of Salem in Polk County. Situated in open farmland near the eastern foothills of the Oregon Coast Range with the broad Willamette Valley and the Cascade Range to the east, elevations range from 185 to 414 feet (56 to 126 m) MSL. The Willamette Valley, with its mild, rainy winter climate, is an ideal environment for wintering waterfowl. The valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats with extensive wetlands, meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with few areas remaining for wildlife. The Refuge consists of 1,173 acres (4.75 km²) of cropland, which provide forage for wintering geese, 300 acres (1.2 km²) of forests, 550 acres (2.2 km²) of grasslands, and 500 acres (2.0 km²) of shallow water seasonal wetlands and 35 acres (0.14 km²) of permanent open water. In 1965, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge was created to help ensure some of the original habitat remained for species preservation. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is located in the coastal towns of Franklin, Garden City and Centerville on Bayou Teche in Louisiana, USA. The 9,028-acre (36.54 km2) refuge is forested with bottomland hardwoods and cypress-gum forests. The refuge was established in St. Mary Parish in 2001. The surrounding area includes oil and gas wells and canals.

Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge

Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, in north central Cameron Parish. It contains 9,621 acres (3,893 ha) that include fresh marsh, coastal prairie, and old rice fields.

The visitor center opened in 1994 and is located south of Lake Charles on Louisiana Highway 27, 11 miles south of Holmwood, Louisiana. The center's exhibits focus on the birds and other wildlife found in the refuge, and the plant and animal life and different types of ecosystems. An animated exhibit features a Cajun resident named Tante Marie, who sits in a pirogue and talks about life in the refuge. The visitor center suffered damage from Hurricane Rita, and is expected to reopen with new exhibits in the fall of 2009.

Easement refuge

An easement refuge is a special type of National Wildlife Refuge under the auspices of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Such refuges exist on privately owned land, with the law of easements guaranteeing their status.On an easement refuge, the Refuge boundaries encompass private land and the Fish and Wildlife Service does not own the land. Instead, through the use of a conservation easement, the FWS maintains the water rights and the right to restrict "hunting , trapping and willful disturbance of any bird or wild animal of any kind whatsoever within the limits of the refuge or to enter thereon...". However, the private landowner reserves the right to hay, graze, burn and manage the land with only minimal intervention from the Service.

Handy Brake National Wildlife Refuge

Handy Brake National Wildlife Refuge is located just north of Bastrop, Louisiana in Morehouse Parish, north central Louisiana. The refuge was established in 1988 with the southeast's first fee title transfer of a Farmer's Home Administration tract (466 acres) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A free lease of 38 acres (150,000 m2) from International Paper increased the refuge to the current 501 acres (2.03 km2).

Kirtlands Warbler Wildlife Management Area

The Kirtlands Warbler Wildlife Management Area is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and is located in northern Lower Michigan.

The Kirtland's warbler is an endangered neotropical migratory bird. The breeding range of this species is primarily restricted to the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and several locations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin. This species winters on Bahamian islands in the Caribbean. Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area is located throughout eight counties in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Staff from Seney National Wildlife Refuge (Seney, Michigan) is responsible for land management at the refuge. Guided tours of parts of the refuge are available at the city of Grayling, around which the widespread parcels of this refuge are centralized.

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

With the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Great Plains to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a diversity of habitats. Located along the Central Flyway, the Refuge provides an important resting, feeding, and wintering area for migrating geese, ducks, and cranes.

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge rests on a plateau in the foothills with the Rocky Mountains just beyond. River canyon walls drop below the refuge on three sides. Las Vegas (Spanish for "the meadows") preserves both wildlife habitats and a slice of New Mexico's rich cultural history.

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, located in the high central plains of northeastern New Mexico, was established in 1965 as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds. Over 350 acres (1.4 km2) of the refuge are planted with wheat, corn, barley, and alfalfa to provide food for resident and migratory wildlife. Visitors may see bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks, sandhill cranes, ducks, white pelicans, burrowing owls, great horned owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, cougars, muskrats, badgers, bobcats, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and the occasional elk.

Michigan Wetland Management District

The Michigan Wetland Management District consists of a 14-county area and includes three waterfowl production areas (WPAs): the 160-acre (0.65 km2) Schlee WPA and the 138-acre (0.56 km2) Mahan WPA in Jackson County and the 77-acre (310,000 m2) Kinney WPA in Van Buren County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, oversees day-to-day management of these three areas through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Michigan has a fourth WPA, the 95-acre (380,000 m2) Schoonover WPA, in Lenawee County. Staff of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, located east of Toledo, Ohio, manages this WPA. All four sites are managed as a mixture of wetlands and grasslands to provide high-quality nesting and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl and a variety of migratory songbirds.

NOAAS Oregon (R 551)

NOAAS Oregon (R 551), previously NOAAS Oregon (FRV 51), was an American fisheries research vessel in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet from 1970 to 1980. Prior to her NOAA career, she operated under the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from 1949 to 1970 as R/V Oregon (FWS 1600).

National Wildlife Refuge

National Wildlife Refuge System is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida's Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the system has grown to over 562 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts encompassing more than 150,000,000 acres (607,028 km2).

Red River National Wildlife Refuge

The Red River National Wildlife Refuge (established 2001) is a preservation project which will ultimately consist of approximately 50,000 acres (200 km2) of United States federal lands and water along that section of the Red River between Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana, and the Arkansas state line, a distance of approximately 120 miles (190 km). Currently the refuge has acquired approximately 6,000 acres (24 km2) of the proposed 50,000 acres (200 km2).

The four focus areas for land purchase are:

Lower Cane River (Natchitoches Parish)

Spanish Lake Lowlands (Natchitoches Parish)

Bayou Pierre Floodplain (DeSoto and Red River parishes)

Wardview (Caddo and Bossier parishes)

Samuel Frederick Hildebrand

Samuel Frederick Hildebrand (August 15, 1883 – March 16, 1949) was an American ichthyologist.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is a 9,870.35 acres (39.9439 km2) National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is located in the central portion of the lower peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of the Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron and five miles (8 km) south of the city of Saginaw in the county's Spaulding and James townships. It was established in 1953 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl.

Known locally as the Shiawassee Flats, the refuge lies in the Saginaw Bay watershed, historically one of the largest and most productive wetland ecosystems in Michigan. The Bad, Flint, and Cass Rivers flow into the Shiawassee River in the refuge. Here also the Shiawassee converges with the Tittabawassee River to form the Saginaw River.

Species of concern

In wildlife conservation in the United States, species of concern are species about which there are some concerns regarding status and threats, but insufficient information is available to list the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Species of concern are commonly declining or appear to be in need of concentrated conservation actions. Many agencies and organizations maintain lists of these at-risk species.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service 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.

The Office of Law Enforcement focuses on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resource-illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental contaminants. The Office of Law Enforcement investigates wildlife crimes, regulates wildlife trade, helps Americans understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources. This work includes:

Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals.

Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of protected U. S. species.

Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding critical habitat for endangered species.

Enforcing federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with states to protect other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.

Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade.

Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species.

Training other federal, state, tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers.

Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes.Distributing information and outreach materials to increase public understanding of wildlife conservation and promote compliance with wildlife protection laws.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service list of endangered mammals and birds

This is a list of the bird and mammal species and subspecies described as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It contains species and subspecies not only in the U.S. and its territories, but also those only found in other parts of the world. It does not include endangered fish, amphibians, reptiles, plants, or invertebrates. The complete list can be found in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 50 Part 17.

The listings for status are E for endangered or T for threatened. Species or subspecies may also be endangered or threatened because they are sufficiently similar in appearance to endangered or threatened species or subspecies and are marked for "similarity of appearance" as E(S/A) or T(S/A).

Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

Identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered and threatened species and subspecies are the primary objectives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species program.

Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 586 U.S. ___ (2018), was a United States Supreme Court case. It dealt with the designation of 1544 acres of private land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana as "critical habitat" for the dusky gopher frog by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court vacated the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld the designation and sent the case back for further review.

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