The Vermont Fish and Wildlife department has over 125 staff members committed to five divisions.
Fisheries, Wildlife, Law Enforcement, Outreach and Administration. We are biologists, game wardens,
educational coordinators and support staff. We all believe in our MISSION:
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department provides a broad range of services to the public:
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is one of three departments in the
Agency of Natural Resources. We are primarily funded by hunting and fishing
license fees plus federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and
- Wildlife management
- Fisheries management
- Law enforcement
- Search and rescue
- Threatened and endangered species monitoring and restoration
- Habitat conservation
- Educational programs for hunters, young people and teachers
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has a history
that extends back to 1866 when the Legislature appointed a Board of Fish
Commissioners. A decade later this Board was given authority over game
birds and mammals, and in 1892 the Board of Fish Commissioners was renamed
the Fish and Game Commission.
These actions were the culmination of increasing public concern about fish,
wildlife and their habitats. Since the state's settlement, many species had
declined in abundance because of unrestricted harvests, poorly enforced laws
and habitat loss. By the 1850's only 25% of Vermont was covered by forest
due to extensive land clearing for farming. Today, almost 80% of the state
is covered by forest, and many wildlife species have been restored.
Even though the initial focus was on game fish and animals and associated
recreation, department personnel have always had a commitment to all fish
and wildlife species. This was formally recognized in 1983 when the department's
name was changed from Fish and Game to Fish and "Wildlife." The department is
responsible for the conservation of wildlife in its broadest sense; 41 species
of reptiles and amphibians, 89 species of fish, 193 species of breeding birds,
58 species of mammals, more than 15,000 insect species, and 2,000 higher plant
species, plus fungi, algae, and 75 different types of natural communities.
The department is currently staffed by 130 individuals, with most working out
of seven offices and five fish culture facilities. The job duties of these
men and women are diverse and include such things as collecting fish and
wildlife population data, protecting important wildlife habitat, raising
fish, enforcing laws, developing educational materials and providing customer
service through the mail and over the phone. The department owns 156 fishing
access areas and 85 wildlife management areas totaling more than 133,000 acres
and two youth conservation camps. The department's annual budget totals
approximately 13 to14 million dollars which is primarily funded by user-based
fees such as license and excise taxes on gasoline and on hunting and fishing
The department's mission is "the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants
and their habitats for the people of Vermont." Other challenges include
providing quality fish and wildlife -based recreation and reaching Vermonters
with the best possible information about these resources.
Assisted by public input, the department recently developed a Strategic
Plan to help direct its activities. This plan will steer the department
in a common direction consistent with its mission, serving as a "contract"
with the public on the types of work to be done. It also helps by prioritizing
human and financial resources in the midst of staffing and funding constraints.