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Title 43: Public Lands: Interior
(a) In 1970, the Secretary of the Interior developed a policy statement on intergovernmental cooperation in the preservation, use and management of fish and wildlife resources. The purpose of the policy (36 FR 21034, Nov. 3, 1971) was to strengthen and support the missions of the several States and the Department of the Interior respecting fish and wildlife. Since development of the policy, a number of Congressional enactments and court decisions have addressed State and Federal responsibilities for fish and wildlife with the general effect of expanding Federal jurisdiction over certain species and uses of fish and wildlife traditionally managed by the States. In some cases, this expansion of jurisdiction has established overlapping authorities, clouded agency jurisdictions and, due to differing agency interpretations and accountabilities, has contributed to confusion and delays in the implementation of management programs. Nevertheless, Federal authority exists for specified purposes while State authority regarding fish and resident wildlife remains the comprehensive backdrop applicable in the absence of specific, overriding Federal law.
(b) The Secretary of the Interior reaffirms that fish and wildlife must be maintained for their ecological, cultural, educational, historical, aesthetic, scientific, recreational, economic, and social values to the people of the United States, and that these resources are held in public trust by the Federal and State governments for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. Because fish and wildlife are fundamentally dependent upon habitats on private and public lands managed or subject to administration by many Federal and State agencies, and because provisions for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of fish and wildlife and the regulation for their use are established in many laws and regulations involving a multitude of Federal and State administrative structures, the effective stewardship of fish and wildlife requires the cooperation of the several States and the Federal Government.
(c) It is the intent of the Secretary to strengthen and support, to the maximum legal extent possible, the missions of the States1 and the Department of the Interior to conserve and manage effectively the nation's fish and wildlife. It is, therefore, important that a Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Policy be implemented to coordinate and facilitate the efforts of Federal and State agencies in the attainment of this objective.
1“States” refers to all of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and other territorial possessions, and the constituent units of government upon which these entities may have conferred authorities related to fish and wildlife matters.