U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 26, 2019
(a) The four major systems of Federal lands administered by the Department of the Interior are lands administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System and national fish hatcheries, and units of the National Park System.
(b) The Bureau of Reclamation withdraws public lands and acquires non-Federal lands for construction and operation of water resource development projects within the 17 Western States. Recreation and conservation or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources are often designated project purposes. General authority for Reclamation to modify project structures, develop facilities, and acquire lands to accommodate fish and wildlife resources is given to the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1946, as amended (16 U.S.C. 661-667e). That act further provides that the lands, waters and facilities designated for fish and wildlife management purposes, in most instances, should be made available by cooperative agreement to the agency exercising the administration of these resources of the particular State involved. The Federal Water Project Recreation Act of 1965, as amended, also directs Reclamation to encourage non-Federal public bodies to administer project land and water areas for recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement. Reclamation withdrawal, however, does not enlarge the power of the United States with respect to management of fish and resident wildlife and, except for activities specified in Section III.3 above, basic authority and responsibility for management of fish and resident wildlife on such lands remains with the State.
(c) BLM-administered lands comprise in excess of 300 million acres that support significant and diverse populations of fish and wildlife. Congress in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) directed that non-wilderness BLM lands be managed by the Secretary under principles of multiple use and sustained yield, and for both wilderness and non-wilderness lands explicitly recognized and reaffirmed the primary authority and responsibility of the States for management of fish and resident wildlife on such lands. Concomitantly, the Secretary of the Interior is charged with the responsibility to manage non-wilderness BLM lands for multiple uses, including fish and wildlife conservation. However, this authority to manage lands for fish and wildlife values is not a preemption of State jurisdiction over fish and wildlife. In exercising this responsibility the Secretary is empowered to close areas to hunting, fishing or trapping for specified reasons viz., public safety, administration, or compliance with provisions of applicable law. The closure authority of the Secretary is thus a power to close areas to particular activities for particular reasons and does not in and of itself constitute a grant of authority to the Secretary to manage wildlife or require or authorize the issuance of hunting and/or fishing permits or licenses.
(d) While the several States therefore possess primary authority and responsibility for management of fish and resident wildlife on Bureau of Land Management lands, the Secretary, through the Bureau of Land Management, has custody of the land itself and the habitat upon which fish and resident wildlife are dependent. Management of the habitat is a responsibility of the Federal Government. Nevertheless, Congress in the Sikes Act has directed the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the States in developing programs on certain public lands, including those administered by BLM and the Department of Defense, for the conservation and rehabilitation of fish and wildlife including specific habitat improvement projects.
(e) Units of the National Wildlife Refuge System occur in nearly every State and constitute Federally owned or controlled areas set aside primarily as conservation areas for migratory waterfowl and other species of fish or wildlife. Units of the system also provide outdoor enjoyment for millions of visitors annually for the purpose of hunting, fishing and wildlife-associated recreation. In 1962 and 1966, Congress authorized the use of National Wildlife Refuges for outdoor recreation provided that it is compatible with the primary purposes for which the particular refuge was established. In contrast to multiple use public lands, the conservation, enhancement and perpetuation of fish and wildlife is almost invariably the principal reason for the establishment of a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. In consequence, Federal activity respecting management of migratory waterfowl and other wildlife residing on units of the National Wildlife Refuge System involves a Federal function specifically authorized by Congress. It is therefore for the Secretary to determine whether units of the System shall be open to public uses, such as hunting and fishing, and on what terms such access shall be granted. However, in recognition of the existing jurisdictional relationship between the States and the Federal Government, Congress, in the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd), has explicitly stated that nothing therein shall be construed as affecting the authority of the several States to manage fish and resident wildlife found on units of the system. Thus, Congress has directed that, to the maximum extent practicable, such public uses shall be consistent with State laws and regulations. Units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, therefore, shall be managed, to the extent practicable and compatible with the purposes for which they were established, in accordance with State laws and regulations, comprehensive plans for fish and wildlife developed by the States, and Regional Resource Plans developed by the Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with the States.
(f) Units of the National Park System contain natural, recreation, historic, and cultural values of national significance as designated by Executive and Congressional action. Specific enabling legislation has authorized limited hunting, trapping or fishing activity within certain areas of the system. As a general rule, consumptive resource utilization is prohibited. Those areas which do legislatively allow hunting, trapping, or fishing, do so in conformance with applicable Federal and State laws. The Superintendent may, in consultation with the appropriate State agency, fix times and locations where such activities will be prohibited. Areas of the National Park System which permit fishing generally will do so in accordance with applicable State and Federal Laws.
(g) In areas of exclusive Federal jurisdiction, State laws are not applicable. However, every attempt shall be made to consult with the appropriate States to minimize conflicting and confusing regulations which may cause undue hardship.
(h) The management of habitat for species of wildlife, populations of wildlife, or individual members of a population shall be in accordance with a Park Service approved Resource Management Plan. The appropriate States shall be consulted prior to the approval of management actions, and memoranda of understanding shall be executed as appropriate to ensure the conduct of programs which meet mutual objectives.
(i) Federal agencies of the Department of the Interior shall:
(1) Prepare fish and wildlife management plans in cooperation with State fish and wildlife agencies and other Federal (non-Interior) agencies where appropriate. Where such plans are prepared for Federal lands adjoining State or private lands, the agencies shall consult with the State or private landowners to coordinate management objectives;
(2) Within their statutory authority and subject to the management priorities and strategies of such agencies, institute fish and wildlife habitat management practices in cooperation with the States to assist the States in accomplishing their fish and wildlife resource plans;
(3) Provide for public use of Federal lands in accordance with State and Federal laws, and permit public hunting, fishing and trapping within statutory and budgetary limitations and in a manner compatible with the primary objectives for which the lands are administered. The hunting, fishing, and trapping, and the possession and disposition of fish, game, and fur animals, shall be conducted in all other respects within the framework of applicable State and Federal laws, including requirements for the possession of appropriate State licenses or permits.
(4) For those Federal lands that are already open for hunting, fishing, or trapping, closure authority shall not be exercised without prior consultation with the affected States, except in emergency situations. The Bureau of Land Management may, after consultation with the States, close all or any portion of public land under its jurisdiction to public hunting, fishing, or trapping for reasons of public safety, administration, or compliance with provisions of applicable law. The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service may, after consultation with the States, close all or any portion of Federal land under their jurisdictions, or impose such other restrictions as are deemed necessary, for reasons required by the Federal laws governing the management of their areas; and
(5) Consult with the States and comply with State permit requirements in connection with the activities listed below, except in instances where the Secretary of the Interior determines that such compliance would prevent him from carrying out his statutory responsibilities:
(i) In carrying out research programs involving the taking or possession of fish and wildlife or programs involving reintroduction of fish and wildlife;
(ii) For the planned and orderly removal of surplus or harmful populations of fish and wildlife except where emergency situations requiring immediate action make such consultation and compliance with State regulatory requirements infeasible; and
(iii) In the disposition of fish and wildlife taken under paragraph (i) (5)(i) or (i) (5)(ii) of this section.