America's wildlife has an advocate in the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The agency works to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wild animals, and plants as well as their habitats. A unit of the Department of the Interior, the FWS took its present form in 1940 and oversees the national wildlife refuge system, bird habitat conservation, federal duck stamps, national fish hatchery system, and the endangered species program. Its myriad services include fire and contaminant management, law enforcement, legislative affairs, and science initiatives. The agency's enacted 2012 budget was more than $2.4 billion. Its budget request for 2013 is more than $2.3 billion.
Operating from eight regional offices and more than 700 field stations, the US Fish and Wildlife Service enforces major environmental laws that include the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. To accomplish its mission, the agency works in partnerships with other federal agencies, state, tribal, and local authorities, private organizations, and individuals.