National Marine Fisheries Service

Mission Statement

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has the primary Federal responsibility for the conservation, management, and development of living marine resources and for the protection of certain marine mammals and endangered species under numerous federal laws. These responsibilities are inherent in NMFS's mission which is "to achieve a continued optimum utilization of living marine resources for the benefit of the Nation."

Major Roles and Responsibilities in Wetlands Management

NMFS comments on all National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and federal Clean Water Act (CWA) 404 documents for projects that could affect marine, estuarine, or anadromous fish or their habitat. This includes intertidal wetlands, subtidal areas, and eelgrass habitat for marine and estuarine species and riparian habitat for salmonids. NMFS is also responsible for designating critical habitat for species it lists under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The critical habitat designation may include wetlands; e.g., the shaded riverine aquatic habitat of the winter-run Chinook salmon.

NMFS works with project proponents during a project's scoping stage to assure that species and habitat concerns are addressed early in the planning process. Furthermore, NMFS participates in a number of statewide and regional wetland restoration efforts and planning groups; e.g., Brush Creek Restoration Project in Sonoma County. Wetland mitigation is often recommended by NMFS during the planning process, or during consultation under ESA.

NMFS's research laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina (part of the NMFS Habitat Restoration Center) conducts basic research to assess and develop habitat restoration techniques. In coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NMFS maps and evaluates long-term habitat changes along the U.S. coasts through the "Coastal Change Analysis Program."

Legal Mandate

NMFS's direct regulatory jurisdiction is limited to those wetlands that are defined as part of the critical habitat for NMFS-listed species under the ESA. As mentioned above, under NEPA and CWA 404, NMFS is required to comment on all projects that could affect marine, estuarine, or anadromous fish or their habitat.

For more information on the National Marine Fisheries Service contact:


Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers
Mike Aceituno, (916)930-3623

North/Central Coast
Jim Bybee, (707)575-6052
Dante Maragni, (707)575-6053

Mailing address:
777 Sonoma Avenue, Room 325
Santa Rosa, California 95404

Bob Hoffman, (562)980-4043

Mailing address:
501 West Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200
Long Beach, California 90802-4213



This file last modified on: Thursday, January 24, 2002.
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