Search the Resource Center

< All Topics

FWS Friends Policy, Agreement & More

The Friends Policy (633 FW 1-4) establish policy and provide guidance and administrative procedures for Service employees in the establishment of and working with Friends organizations. It is written to implement specific provisions of the National Wildlife the policy for Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 and the National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006.

There are four chapters to the policy each intended to assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees to achieve their mission more efficiently through partnerships with nonprofit Friends organizations.

Chapter 1: Working with Friends Organizations

Chapter 2: Finance and Administration Through Friends Agreements

  • Explains the business relationship between the Service and Friends organizations
  • Describes normal business and administrative practices of Friends organizations and appropriate practices and activities on Service-managed property
  • Describes the appropriate use, by Friends, of the Service’s intellectual property

Chapter 3: Friends Partnership Agreements

Chapter 4: Friends Nature Stores and Other Revenue-Generating Activities

  • Defines the roles and responsibilities of the Service and Friends organizations when a Friends organization manages revenue-generating activities on Service-managed property
  • Provides guidance on the types of items that Friends organizations may sell in a Nature Store on Service-managed property

Source of information: USFWS Friends Policy webpage

Friends Partnership Agreement

The Friends Partnership Agreement is the required instrument that describes how U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees and a Friends organization work together cooperatively in support of the Service mission. The agreement describes the substantial involvement of both parties in mutually agreed-upon activities and ensures that both parties have a mutual understanding of their respective roles, responsibilities, rights, expectations, and requirements within the partnership.

The Service can only use a Friends Partnership Agreement with Friends organizations that meet the following qualifications:

  • Are nonprofit organizations under Section 501(c)3 Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Service code;
  • Established with an organizational mission of supporting the purposes and objectives of a Service site or program with which they are affiliated; and
  • Cooperate with the Service under an approved Friends Partnership Agreement.

Source of information: USFWS Friends Partnership Agreement

Supplemental Partnership Agreement

The Friends Supplemental Partnership Agreement for Use of Service Property provides additional terms and responsibilities beyond the general terms of the Friend Partnership Agreement (FPA), and is required only for those Friends that use Service land, facilities, or equipment. It should either be completed and added to the Friends Partnership Agreement at the same time of Service ratification or added to an approved Friends Partnership Agreement as a modification. The supplemental agreement includes language for most uses of Service property by Friends, including the operation of nature stores on Service property.

Source of information: USFWS Policy Manual

Additional FWS Materials Supporting the Partnership

FWS has created additional materials to assist the Service and Friends enhance their partnerships.

FWS Policies Affecting Friends Organizations

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has numerous policies that provide guidance and administrative procedures for FWS employees partnering with Friends organizations. The Friends policy refers to other FWS policies that affect the partnership with Friends.

Legislative Authorities Impacting FWS/Friends Partnerships

There is specific legislation that allows FWS to work with Friends groups:

As of 7/12/21 the updated Friends Policy was finalized.

Jump to: