Fish and Aquatic Conservation

Species & Habitat Conservation

Information iconLower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and Northeast Fishery Center lake sturgeon restoration crew out on Lake Ontario. (Photo: USFWS)

Species and Habitat Conservation consists of the National Fish Passage Program, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, and Sikes Act. These programs work to conserve, restore, and enhance habitats using available Fish and Aquatic Conservation tools.

Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation are some of the primary factors in the decline of native species. Various sources of pollution are also worsening water quality and habitat. We work with tribes, states, and other partners to identify population and management objectives, address the conservation challenges, leverage resources to ensure efficient and effective conservation delivery, and measure and evaluate our progress.

The National Fish Passage Program (NFPP) has worked with hundreds of partners on projects across the U.S. to improve or remove barriers to fish movement and reconnect aquatic habitats. Removing barriers, reopening river miles, and reconnecting wetland acres, benefits not only fish, but people too. To date, NFPP has removed 2,933 barriers.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices (FWCOs) is a network of field stations across the Nation. Staff biologist provide technical assistance to tribes, collaborate on fishery restoration, and supervise subsistence use by rural Alaskans on federal land. They also conduct scientific studies into fishery problems, restore habitat, and collaborate with partners to conserve migratory fishes that cross multiple jurisdictions.

National Fish Habitat Partnership is a comprehensive effort to treat the causes of fish habitat decline, not just the symptoms. The Partnership is a national investment strategy to maximize the impact of conservation dollars on the ground. Funds are leveraged through regional partnerships to address the nation’s biggest fish habitat challenges.

The Sikes Act directs the Secretary of Defense, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state fish and wildlife agencies, to carry out a program to ensure proper consideration of fish, wildlife, and habitat needs on military installations. The Sikes Act allows for the sustainable, multipurpose use of natural resources subject to military security and safety requirements.

Information iconRemoval of the Green River dam in Kentucky. (Photo: USFWS)