The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: A chronology

  • clip art of owl

  • drawing of oil well

    Kathy Bogan
  • clip art of blue heron

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories, Can she save ecosystems?

1885: Congress creates the Section of Economic Ornithology within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and appoints prominent naturalist C. Hart Merriam to head it. Merriam begins an exhaustive survey of the geographic distribution of the nation's birds and mammals.

1892: President Benjamin Harrison creates the Afognak Forest and Fish Culture Reserve in Alaska, the nation's first wildlife refuge.

1903: President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the nation's second wildlife refuge, on Florida's Pelican Island. During his first term he creates 50 more refuges.

1905: Congress creates the Bureau of Biological Survey in recognition of Merriam's work.

1916: Congress ratifies the Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada.

1929: Congress passes the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, authorizing the creation of a nationwide system of refuges to preserve critical habitat for wintering and nesting waterfowl.

1933: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints J.N. "Ding" Darling to head the Biological Survey. Darling and his chief of refuges, J. Clark Salyer II, buy up land at Depression-era prices, increasing the size of the refuge system to nearly 14 million acres.

1934: Congress passes the Duck Stamp and Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, providing money for refuge management.

1937: Congress passes the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as Pittman-Robertson, providing money for states from a tax on rifles, ammunition and archery equipment to purchase critical game habitat and conduct wildlife research.

1939: Congress moves the Bureau of Biological Survey to the Interior Department, merges it with the Bureau of Fisheries from the Commerce Department, and names the new agency the Fish and Wildlife Service.

1949: Congress agrees to double the price of duck stamps for federal refuges in exchange for the service's agreement to open the refuges to waterfowl hunting.

1953: Douglas McKay, President Eisenhower's Interior secretary, opens some refuges to oil and gas exploration.

1973: Congress passes the Endangered Species Act, destined to become the nation's most powerful environmental law, and puts the Fish and Wildlife Service in charge of enforcing it.

1980: Congress passes the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, creating nine new wildlife refuges, including the 18 million-acre Arctic Refuge, and expanding seven other units. In all, the law adds 54 million refuge acres in Alaska, tripling the size of the refuge system.

1981: President Reagan appoints James Watt as Interior Secretary. Watt launches a campaign to increase "economic uses' of wildlife refuges.

1990: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the northern spotted owl as a threatened species, setting in motion a national debate over how to weigh the value of species against timber jobs in the Pacific Northwest.

1993: Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt reinvents the National Biological Survey, transferring 1,500 research scientists and support jobs from the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a nationwide inventory of threatened ecosystems.

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Job purpose The Executive Director is a proven leader with demonstrated and sustained experience managing people, budgets, fundraising, and contract compliance who guides a well-established...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a Communications Associate to support the advancement of GYC's mission by working closely with the Communications Coordinator and program staff...
  • MONTANA DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    YOUR POSITION WITH TNC The Director of Development (DoD) is responsible for directing all aspects of one or more development functions, which will secure significant...
  • DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS COORDINATOR
    Development & Operations Coordinator Terms: 1.0 FTE (full-time), Salary DOE ($45,000 - $55,000) Benefits: Paid Time Off (12-24 days/year depending on tenure), Paid Holidays (10/year),...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • CARBON RANCH PLANNER
    The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
  • EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIRECTOR
    Education and Outreach Program Director The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic,...
  • WESTERN DIVISION DIRECTOR OF FIELD PROGRAMS
    DEADLINE TO APPLY: October 29, 2021 LOCATION FLEXIBLE (WESTERN HUB CITY PREFERRED) Overview The Land Trust Alliance is the voice of the land trust community....
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...