U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Urban Programs

Engaging urban populations in wildlife conservation on and off public lands

Conservation in urban areas helps protect our natural heritage and provides people with access to nature that raises their quality of life. It promotes communities that care about the natural world and supports ecosystem services that deliver economic and environmental benefits. Whether its restoring fish passages in urban streams, restoring coastal wetlands to reduce flooding in cities, or connecting youth with learning and employment opportunities on refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is laying the groundwork to reach the next generation of urban dwellers and wildlife watchers.



The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program from the National Wildlife Refuge System highlights best practices that engage new urban audiences, ensure access, promote sustainability, and nurture effective, new partnerships at over 100 Urban National Wildlife Refuges30 Urban Partnership Cities, and 30 Urban Bird Treaty Cities under the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds.

The Coastal Program partners with the Service’s Endangered Species Program and the National Wildlife Refuge System to ensure that local projects benefit federal trust species conservation and compliment Service recovery and management priorities. Many of these efforts take place in coastal cities.

The Conservation Planning Assistance Program integrates information from numerous Service programs and delivers that expertise to the people and organizations of urban America. It assists communities in making long-term decisions about locating new green infrastructure or relocating existing infrastructure due to sea level rise and other related concerns.

The Endangered Species Program designs urban development strategies to conserve protected species with Habitat Conservation Plans and encourages local governments to develop ecologically-based regional planning to address conservation goals.

The Environmental Contaminants Program seeks to restore and recover natural resources and their supporting habitats harmed by contamination and other stressors. It provides environmental contaminant expertise and high-quality scientific data and interpretation to support sound management decisions for our trust resources.

The National Fish Habitat Partnership and the Fish and Aquatic Habitat Conservation Program provides funds to address fish habitat conservation with partner-driven and science-based projects. The partnership reaches urban areas with projects located on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Great Lakes coasts and works with partners to identify future conservation projects in America’s largest urban centers.

The National Fish Passage Program is a voluntary, non-regulatory initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to towns and cities wanting to reconnect their rivers and waterways. It works with local communities to conserve our nation’s aquatic resources and restore  free flowing rivers by removing or bypassing barriers. 

The Schoolyard Habitat Program provides technical and organizational assistance to schools to create effective outdoor classrooms as educational tools to teach stewardship and create sustainable habitats, ensuring students in urban areas participate in nature-based activities in their own communities.

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