U.S. National Park Service

Mission Statement

The mission of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is to conserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, and the wildlife in United States' national parks, and to provide for the public's enjoyment of these features in a manner that will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Major Roles and Responsibilities in Wetlands Management

Since the National Park Service (NPS) was established in 1916, Congress has included millions of acres of wetlands in the National Park System. These wetlands provided the special protection inherent in the NPS mission. Unfortunately, many wetland areas enter the System in a non-pristine state or are adversely affected by activities like sewage treatment or drainage operations. Consequently, the NPS must often play an active role in wetlands management, restoration, and public awareness.

The NPS has a multi-faceted program for protecting and managing its wetland resources, which includes: protecting wetlands from pollution; providing technical expertise and funding to parks for wetland inventory and restoration projects; providing up-to-date management techniques to preserve wetland functions and values; and protection or acquisition of water rights. Also, the NPS plays key roles in other local, state, and federal government wetlands-related programs including the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and the preparation of State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans.

The NPS conducts research to determine how to best protect and restore wetlands. For example, at Everglades National Park, results of wildlife, hydrology, plant ecology, and marine science research support a massive project to protect and restore over 500,000 acres of critical tidal and non-tidal wetlands.

Legal Mandates

There are three laws that constitute the primary authorities for the administration of the National Park System. Under the 1916 NPS Organic Act, the NPS is charged with the management of the parks to "...conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." The General Authorities Act of 1970 defined the National Park System as including all the areas administered by the NPS "...for park, monument, historic, parkway, recreational, or other purposes..." In 1978, in an act expanding Redwood National Park, NPS general authorities were further amended to specifically mandate that all park units be managed and protected "in light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park System" and that no activities should be undertaken "in derogation of the values and purposes for which these various areas have been established," except where specifically authorized by law.

For more information on the National Park Service contact:

Pacific Great Basin System Support Office
600 Harrison Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94107

Yosemite National Park
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Redwood National Park
1111 Second Street
Cresent City, CA 95531

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Fort Mason, Building 201
San Francisco, CA 94123

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
30401 Agoura Hills, CA 91301


Webmaster: wetlands@resources.ca.gov

This file last modified on: Thursday, January 24, 2002.
Document URL: http://resources.ca.gov/wetlands/agencies/dwr.html
Copyright © 1997 California Resources Agency. All rights reserved.