SIC 9512 Land, Mineral, Wildlife, and Forest Conservation


SIC 9512

This industry includes government establishments primarily engaged in the regulation, supervision, and control of land use, including recreational areas; conservation and preservation of natural resources; control of wind and water erosion; pest control on public lands; and the administration and protection of publicly and privately owned forest lands. The planning, management, regulation, and conservation of game, fish, and wildlife populations, as well as refuges and other areas relating to their protection, are also classified here. Parks are classified in SIC 7999: Amusement and Recreation Services, Not Elsewhere Classified. Operators of forest property are classified in SIC 0811: Timber Tracts. Game preserves are classified SIC 0971: Hunting and Trapping, and Game Propagation. Fish preserves are classified in SIC 0921: Fish Hatcheries and Preserves.



Land, Mineral, Wildlife and Forest Conservation


An elaborate web of public and private establishments work together to manage and protect natural resources in the United States. Private membership groups, professional societies, industry representatives, and community groups voice a variety of concerns in their efforts to influence federal, state, and local policy on natural resource management. The principal governmental agency charged with the management of land, mineral, wildlife and forest conservation is the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). As such, the DOI manages more than 500 million acres of federal land—approximately 20 percent of the nation's total land area—and is responsible for the collection and disbursement of all revenues generated from the use of public lands and the leasing of mineral deposits and offshore oil drilling sites.

An intensifying debate over the nation's economic and environmental interests shaped the increasingly complex and often incongruent governmental policies on environmental stewardship in the last half of the twentieth century and the early 2000s. One result of this debate has been a proliferation of bureaucracies designed to address the concerns of both industry leaders and environmentalists. By 2003 the U.S. government's federal budget allotted $10.3 billion to the expansion and protection of America's national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other public lands under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. Excluding $270.5 million in appropriations marked for civil service retirement benefits, that figure represented a $12.7 million decrease from 2002. Key efforts undertaken by the DOI in recent years have included restoration projects in the Florida Everglades, California Bay Delta, and Appalachian Mountains; forestry management, especially in the Pacific Northwest; ongoing revisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973; infrastructure improvement at national parks; and national biological research.


As the primary guardian of the nation's natural resources, the Department of the Interior's jurisdiction is enormous. The secretary of the Department of the Interior is appointed by the president and supervises all activities of the department. In addition to an assistant secretary responsible for the chief financial officer and issues regarding policy, management, and budget, responsibilities are divided among four assistant secretaries who manage eight bureaus within the DOI.

Fish and Wildlife

The assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks is responsible for the conservation and use of fish, wildlife, recreational and historical sites, and the national parks. Under the assistant secretary's supervision, these duties are carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Responsibilities of the Bureau of Fisheries, established as an independent agency in 1871, and the Bureau of Biological Survey, established in 1885 as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), were combined and transferred to the DOI in 1939 by Reorganization Plan 3. The two bureaus were consolidated into the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1940, and in 1956 the service was divided into the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries was transferred to the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1970, while the DOI maintained the responsibilities of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. In 1974 the bureau was renamed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal bureau for the management of fish and wildlife and performs its responsibilities through an extensive infrastructure. It operates regional offices in the lower 48 states and Alaska and manages 540 National Wildlife Refuges on 95 million acres of land. In addition to maintaining 690 dams and some 3,000 miles of dikes, the bureau operates 69 National Fish Hatcheries and employs a nationwide network of wildlife enforcement agents.

According to the U.S. Government Manual, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "assists in the development of an environmental stewardship ethic for our society based on ecological principles, scientific knowledge of wildlife, and a sense of moral responsibility…. " The service performs a variety of environmental assessment projects on fish and wildlife populations and their habitat areas in its efforts to protect species and ensure that the public enjoys continued benefits from these resources. The service also compiles the Endangered and Threatened Species List and coordinates national and international efforts on species protection and propagation. In 2003 the Fish and Wildlife Service's budget totaled $1.9 billion.

Also under the direction of the assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks is the National Park Service. Established in the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1916, the primary objective of the National Park Service is the preservation of natural scenic parks and historic and natural monuments for the enjoyment of future generations. The National Park Service maintains more than 388 parks, many of which contain campgrounds and visitor facilities. The service seeks to enhance the public enjoyment of wildlife and natural scenery through educational tours, films, and exhibits.

The Park Service is also responsible for the determination and preservation of historic sites and landmarks and maintenance of the National Register of Historic Places. The state portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund is also under the Park Service's jurisdiction. The Park Service received $1.6 billion of the DOI's budget in 2003.

Indian Affairs

The assistant secretary for Indian Affairs heads the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is intended to address the needs and concerns of Indian and Alaskan Native people. The bureau works directly...

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