How Regulations Are Set

Waterfowl hunter in blind with blue-winged tealMigratory game bird management in the United States is a cooperative effort of state and federal governments. For waterfowl management, for example, the US and Canada are divided into four flyways; the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific. In the US, the Flyway Councils, consisting of representatives from state and provincial game-management agencies, recommend regulations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for waterfowl and for most migratory, shore and upland game birds.

The Councils are advised by flyway technical committees consisting of state and provincial biologists. These technical committees evaluate species and population status, harvest, and hunter-participation data during the development of the Council recommendations.

The Service's Office of Migratory Bird Management (MBMO), with advice from biologists in the Service's Regional Offices, evaluates the Council recommendations, considering species status and biology, cumulative effects of regulations, and existing regulatory policy, and makes recommendations to the Service's Regulations Committee, which consists of members of the Service Directorate.

The Service Regulations Committee considers both the Council and MBMO recommendations, then forwards its recommendations for annual regulations to the Service Director

Once regulatory proposals are approved, they are published in the Federal Register for public comment. After the comment period, final regulations are developed, which are then signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Migratory Bird Regulations cycle.