About the Service

Vision: We will continue to be a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service

Our work is guided by our conservation principles:

Science – Our work is grounded in thorough, objective science.

Stewardship – Our ethic is to conserve natural resources for future generations.

Service – It is our privilege to serve the American people.

Professionalism – We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards, strive for excellence and respect others.

Partnerships – We emphasize creative, innovative partnerships.

People – Our employees are our most valued asset

Legacy – We ensure the future of natural resource conservation by connecting people with nature.

The Service Priorities are:

National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) – Conserving our lands and resources

Landscape Conservation - working with others

Migratory Birds – conservation & management

Threatened & Endangered Species – achieving recovery & preventing extinction

Aquatic Resources – National Fish Habitat Action Plan & trust species

Connecting People with Nature – ensuring the future of conservation


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bureau is small compared to the other federal bureaus. The Service employs approximately 8000 men and women to carry out the mission: "working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people." We have a proud heritage of conservation of America's wildlife and habitat. As an organization we have evolved over thedecades to meet the challenges of conservation in the United States and the world.

Today, the Service enforces Federal wildlife laws; manages migratory bird populations; restores and manages nationally significant fisheries; conserves and restores vital wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Refuge System; protects and recovers endangered species; and helps other governments with conservation efforts. We also administer a Federal Assistance program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars annually to states for fish and wildlife restoration, boating access, hunter education, and related projects across America. The funds come from Federal excise taxes on fishing, hunting, and boating equipment.

Our role within the Department of the Interior is to:

Conserve Healthy Habitats

Habitat loss is the major reason for the decline of most of the world's fish, wildlife, and plant species. The Service helps conserve habitat through the National Wildlife Refuge System. In addition, the agency works with other public and private landowners to help conserve plant and wildlife ecosystems outside Service lands. To ensure the health of wildlife habitat, employees examine the effects of Federal activities on fish and wildlife species and their habitats, as well as monitor environmental contaminants affecting fish and wildlife.

Restore Declining Species

The Service seeks to restore declining species through wildlife conservation and management, enforcing fish and wildlife laws, controlling exotic nuisance species, and informing citizens about how they can help. National wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries play a critical role in protecting and restoring depleted species.

Working with Others

Sustaining our Nation's fish and wildlife resources is a task that can be accomplished only through the combined efforts of governments, businesses, and private citizens. The Service works with State and Federal agencies and Tribal Governments, helps corporate and private landowners conserve habitat, cooperates with other nations to halt illegal wildlife trade, and works with volunteers at national wildlife refuges and other locations across the country.

Education and Training

A highly trained workforce and an informed public are critical to the future of America's fish and wildlife. The Service conducts conservation training for its employees and natural resource organizations both in the United States and around the world. The Service provides scientific, policy, and education information to the public.

Places for Wildlife and People

People and nature are linked through spiritual, recreational, and cultural ties. Wildlife and wild places give people special opportunities to have fun, relax, and appreciate our natural world. Whether through birdwatching, fishing, hunting, photography, or other wildlife pursuits, wildlife recreation contributes millions of dollars to local economies. Our fish and wildlife heritage contributes to the quality of our lives and is an integral part of our Nation's greatness. As citizens of our global community, we can all work together to conserve the nature of our world.

The Service's operational plan aligns with the Department's five year strategic plan and outlines the long term and annual goals in the areas of sustainability of fish and wildlife populations, habitat conservation, public use and enjoyment, and partnerships in natural resources.