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."
The Agency's director is currently vacant after Aurelia Skipwith, the former agency's director, left her post on January 19, 2021. President Joe Biden has appointed Martha Williams, former director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, to be the Principal Deputy Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.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.Sub-units of the FWS include:
National Wildlife Refuge System—560 National Wildlife Refuges and thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas covering over 150 million acres (607,000 km2)
Division of Migratory Bird Management
Federal Duck Stamp
National Fish Hatchery System—70 National Fish Hatcheries and 65 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices
Endangered Species program—86 Ecological Services Field Stations
Endangered Species Bulletin, a quarterly publication
International Affairs Program
National Conservation Training Center
USFWS Office of Law Enforcement
Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory
Landscape Conservation CooperativesThe 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.
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