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
  • GRAND CANYON DIRECTOR
    The Grand Canyon director, with the Grand Canyon manager, conservation director, and other staff, envisions, prioritizes, and implements strategies for the Grand Canyon Trust's work...
  • ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a part-time Administrative Assistant to support the organization's general operations. This includes phone and email communications, office correspondence and...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • ONE WILL: THREE WIVES
    by Edith Tarbescu. "One Will: Three Wives" is packed with a large array of interesting suspects, all of whom could be a murderer ... a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SALAZAR CENTER FOR NORTH AMERICAN CONSERVATION
    The Program Director will oversee the programmatic initiatives of The Salazar Center, working closely with the Center's Director and staff to engage the world's leading...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS - WILD PLACES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Salary Range: $70,000-$80,000. Location: Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT or potentially elsewhere for the right person. Application Review: on a rolling basis....
  • RIVER EDUCATOR/GUIDE + TRIP LEADER
    Position Description: Full-time seasonal positions (mid-March through October) Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10 year old nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of...
  • BOOKKEEPER/ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Position Description: Part-time, year-round bookkeeping and administration position (12 - 16 hours/week) $16 - $18/hour DOE Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10...
  • LAND STEWARD
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks a full-time Land Steward to manage and oversee its conservation easement monitoring and stewardship program for 42,437 acres in...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ventana Wilderness Alliance is seeking an experienced forward-facing public land conservation leader to serve as its Executive Director. The mission of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    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,...
  • GRANT WRITER
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    The Development Director is responsible for organizing and launching a coherent set of development activities to build support for the Natural History Institute's programs and...
  • WILDLIFE PROJECT COORDINATOR
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation helps protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting organizations and people who...
  • TRUSTEE AND PHILANTHROPY RELATIONS MANGER,
    Come experience Work You Can Believe In! The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is seeking a Trustee and Philanthropy Relations Manager. This position is critical to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT FRIENDS OF CEDAR MESA
    -The Land, History, and People of the Bears Ears Region- The Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa region is one of the most beautiful, complex, diverse,...
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    Position will remain open until January 31, 2021 Join Our Team! The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit land trust organization dedicated to...
  • OLIVERBRANCH CONSULTING
    Non-Profit Management Professional specializing in Transitional Leadership, Strategic Collaborations, Communications and Grant Management/Writing.
  • GREAT VIEWS, SMALL FOOTPRINT
    Close to town but with a secluded feel, this eco-friendly home includes solar panels, a graywater reuse system, tankless hot water, solar tubes, and rainwater...