USFWS’s mission is to conserve, protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats through consultation, cooperation and communication for the continuing benefit of the American people. In partnership with the state, USFWS provides a range of environmental services programs to protect endangered and threatened species, conserve habitat and reduce environmental contaminants. In cooperation with USFWS, the AGFC has developed and maintains conservation programs for resident federally-listed threatened and endangered species.
- Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires all federal agencies to conserve threatened and endangered species. While managing federal lands or engaging in other federal business that could affect listed species, agencies must first consult with USFWS to ensure that their actions will not harm a listed species or damage or destroy its habitat. These actions include the issuing of federal permits, licenses granting approval to certain private activities or federally funded actions. In the relatively few cases where USFWS determines a proposed action will harm a species, it suggests ways for landowners to modify their proposals to conserve listed species. USFWS also works with agencies to minimize potential harm to protected species, allowing projects to continue.
Private landowners who develop and implement an approved habitat conservation plan providing for conservation of threatened or endangered species can receive an incidental take permit that allows the development project to go forward.
- The Habitat Conservation and Environmental Contaminants programs are responsible for providing information and consultative services for the protection and conservation of fish and wildlife species and their habitats to a widely diverse audience including federal, state, and local governments; businesses; and private individuals. Consultations include: mapping of wetlands; habitat restoration and management; contaminant risk assessment, restoration, and remediation; and public outreach and education. The program provides USFWS with internal and external review to insure compliance for a variety of federal environmental and resource laws.
- Federal Permits & Projects. The USFWS evaluates federally constructed, licensed or permitted water resource development projects and provides recommendations to reduce impacts to fish and wildlife resources. Under the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Clean Water Act and other legislation, federal agencies permitting or constructing these projects must consult with the USFWS during the planning of projects. The USFWS provides technical support to the agencies in the planning process, providing fish and wildlife resources information and analyses while recommending measures to mitigate impacts.
- National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). The NWI prepares and distributes maps showing the location and types of wetlands found throughout the region. It also provides technical assistance in wetland delineation, wetland soils, wetland plants, wetland hydrology, wetland trends and wetland values to individuals, other USFWS programs and other federal and state agencies.
- Partners for Fish and Wildlife program provides financial and technical assistance to restore, improve and protect fish and wildlife habitat on private lands through partnerships with private landowners and other organizations while leaving the land in private ownership.
- Land Management. USFWS manages 10 national wildlife refuges, three national fish hatcheries, two ecological service offices, a law enforcement office and a migratory bird field station in Arkansas.