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United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish and Wildlife Service
Logo of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Flag of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Agency overview
Formed June 30, 1940 (1940-06-30)
Preceding agencies Bureau of Biological Survey
Bureau of Fisheries
Jurisdiction United States federal government
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Employees approx. 9,000 employees (2010)
Annual budget $2.32 billion (FY08)
Agency executive Daniel M. Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Parent agency U.S. Department of the Interior
Arctic Refuge Law Enforcement Officer Heather Bartlett stands alongside her Super Cub, 2009

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is a federal government agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. The mission of the agency reads as "working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."

The leader of the FWS is the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Daniel M. Ashe, of Maryland, who succeeded Samuel D. Hamilton.

Among the service's responsibilities 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.

Units within the FWS include:

The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is on non-federal lands. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Partners in Flight, Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and other partnership activities are the main ways the FWS fosters aquatic conservation and assists voluntary habitat conservation and restoration.

The FWS employs approximately 9,000 people at facilities across the U.S. The FWS is a decentralized organization with a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., with regional and field offices across the country. Today, the FWS consists of a central administrative office (in Arlington, VA) with eight regional offices and nearly 700 field offices distributed throughout the United States.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
    • Related governmental agencies 2.1
    • Regulatory matters 2.2
    • Wildlife management 2.3
    • Other related topics 2.4
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


USFWS patrol vehicles, Alaska 1950

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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, the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy was established in the United States Department of Agriculture, which in 1896 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. 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.[4] Under Darling's guidance, the Bureau began an ongoing legacy of protecting vital natural habitat throughout the country. The Fish and Wildlife Service was finally created in 1940, when the Bureaus of Fisheries and Biological Survey were combined after being moved to the Department of the Interior.

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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the National Eagle Repository and the permit system for Native American religious use of eagle feathers.[5][6][7]

The Service governs five Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

See also

Related governmental agencies

Regulatory matters

Wildlife management

Other related topics


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ USFWS - National Organizational Chart. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ "National Eagle Repository". 
  6. ^ "Eagle Parts for Native American Religious Purposes". 
  7. ^ "Title 50 Part 22 Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22)]". 
  8. ^

Further reading

  • U.S. fishery agency Annual Reports 1871-1940 and 1947-1979
  • Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dies at Keystone
  • DOI Secretary Ken Salazar's Statement on the Passing of Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton

External links

  • Official website
  • Fish and Wildlife Service in the Federal Register
  • FWS Midwest Region
  • Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office
  • Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) Historic technical reports from the Fish and Wildlife Service (and other Federal agencies)

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