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5-10.000
THE WILDLIFE AND MARINE RESOURCES SECTION

5-10.001 Establishment
5-10.100 Area of Responsibility
5-10.120 Statutes Administered
5-10.200 Organization
5-10.300 Supervision and Handling of Wildlife and Marine Resources Section Cases—Request for Instructions
5-10.310 Authority of United States Attorneys to Initiate Actions Without Prior Authorization, i.e., Direct Referral Cases
5-10.312 Notice to Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of Intention to File Direct Referral Action
5-10.320 Actions Not Subject to Direct Referral to United States Attorney
5-10.321 Prior Authorization Needed to Initiate Action or Assume Defense of Action
5-10.500 General Procedures in District Court Litigation
5-10.600 Settlement and Dismissal of Cases
5-10.620 Transmittal of Compromise to Wildlife and Marine Resources Section; Recommendations With Respect to Acceptance
5-10.630 Authority of United States Attorneys to Settle or Dismiss Direct Referral Cases

5-10.001

Establishment

The Wildlife Section was established on November 8, 1979, by Environment and Natural Resources Division Directive No. 22-79. The Marine Resources Section was established on November 5, 1969, by Environment and Natural Resources Division Directive No. 6-691. The consolidated Wildlife and Marine Resources Section was established on June 15, 1981, by Environment and Natural Resources Division Directive No. 1.

5-10.100

Area of Responsibility

The Wildlife and Marine Resources Section has responsibility for civil enforcement and defense of, and supporting, and coordinating all civil cases, matters, and proceedings arising under the laws listed below (see USAM 5-10.120).

[updated November 2008] [cited in USAM 5-7.120]

5-10.120

Statutes Administered

The federal statutes giving rise to civil litigation handled by the Section include the following:

  1. Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.
  2. Airborne Hunting Act, 16 U.S.C. § 742j-1
  3. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. § 703 et seq.
  4. Migratory Bird Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 715 to 715d, 715e, 715f to 715k, 715 to 715r
  5. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 668 to 668d
  6. Dingell-Johnson Fish Restoration Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 777 to 777i, 777k
  7. National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 668dd, 668ee
  8. Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, 33 U.S.C. §  1431 et seq.
  9. Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. §  1801 et seq.
  10. Whaling Convention Act, 16 U.S.C. § 981 et seq.
  11. Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, 16 U.S.C. § 971
  12. Tuna Conventions Act, 16 U.S.C. § 951 et seq.
  13. Marine Mammal Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1361 et seq.
  14. Fur Seal Act of 1966, 16 U.S.C. § 1151 et seq.
  15. Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331 to 1340
  16. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 661 to 667e
  17. Animal Damage Control Act, 7 U.S.C. § 426 et seq.
  18. Sponge Act, 16 U.S.C. § 781 et seq.
  19. Northern Pacific Halibut Act, 16 U.S.C. § 773 et seq.
  20. Antarctic Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. § 2401 et seq.
  21. Atlantic Salmon Convention Act, 16 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
  22. Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1902 et seq. (including violations cross-referenced under 21 U.S.C. § 601 et seq.)
  23. Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
  24. Animal Fighting Venture Prohibition, 7 U.S.C. § 2156
  25. Horse Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1821 et seq.
  26. 28-Hour Law, 49 U.S.C. § 80502

[updated October 2014] [cited in USAM 5-7.120; USAM 5-7.300; USAM 5-10.100]

5-10.200

Organization

The section is administered by a Chief and two Assistant Chiefs. The work of the Section is assigned among staff attorneys according to experience and workload.

5-10.300

Supervision and Handling of Wildlife and Marine Resources Section Cases—Request for Instructions

Requests for instructions and guidance relating to the civil enforcement or defense or actions under the jurisdiction of the Section shall be referred to: Chief, Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7369, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044-7369 (202-305-0210).

[updated November 2008]

5-10.310

Authority of United States Attorneys to Initiate Actions Without Prior Authorization, i.e., Direct Referral Cases

The general authority of United States Attorneys to initiate cases under the supervision of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section is set forth in USAM 5-1.310. Cases which do not raise new or unusual questions of law may be initiated by the United States Attorney without prior authorization from the Section in response to a direct request in writing from an authorized field officer of the department or agency concerned.

Upon receipt of referrals of any case within the jurisdiction of the Section, notice shall be given to the Section before filing or declining to file an action, as set forth in USAM 5-10.312.

[updated November 2008] [cited in USAM 5-10.321]

5-10.312

Notice to Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of Intention to File Direct Referral Action

No later than three (3) business days prior to instituting or declining to institute a direct referral action arising under the jurisdiction of the Section, the Chief of the Section shall be notified of the proposed action, and copies of relevant documents shall be forwarded in due course. This notice and document forwarding requirement is waived when, for example, a case involves routine enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or ordinary forfeiture proceedings not concerning wildlife or associated articles of significant value.

The notice requirement is applicable where, for example, a case involves civil enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. If there is doubt as to whether notice and document forwarding is necessary, inquiry to the Section is appropriate.

[updated November 2008] [cited in USAM 5-1.310; USAM 5-10.310; USAM 5-10.630]

5-10.320

Actions Not Subject to Direct Referral to United States Attorney

Responsibility for the handling of cases under the supervision of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section is assigned by the Chief of the Section under the provisions of USAM 5-1.322 through 5-1.326.

5-10.321

Prior Authorization Needed to Initiate Action or Assume Defense of Action

Except for cases authorized to be filed upon direct referral, (see USAM 5-10.310) no case under the supervision of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section may be initiated by a United States Attorney without prior authorization (see USAM 5-1.302). In all cases under the supervision of the Section in which the United States, a federal agency or agency official is a defendant, the United States Attorney shall inquire of the Section whether the assignment will be field, staff or joint. The United States Attorney shall provide notice immediately to the section when any motion for preliminary relief is filed.

5-10.500

General Procedures in District Court Litigation

The general instructions set forth in USAM 5-1.100 et seq. with respect to the handling of litigation, apply in every respect to the litigation of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section. Particularly, it is of the utmost importance that complaints filed against the United States, federal agencies or federal officials in matters relating to the area of responsibility of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section be transmitted promptly to the chief of the Section.

5-10.600

Settlement and Dismissal of Cases

Except with respect to direct referral cases involving no new or unusual questions of fact or law (discussed in USAM 5-1.310, 5-5.230, and 5-5.240), no claim or case under the jurisdiction of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section may be settled or dismissed without specific or delegated authority from the Attorney General. See USAM 5-5.210 et seq.

[cited in USAM 5-8.600]

5-10.620

Transmittal of Compromise to Wildlife and Marine Resources Section; Recommendations With Respect to Acceptance

Where compromise in a case other than a direct referral case is offered to a United States Attorney, he shall forward the offer to the Section along with his recommendation and supporting analysis.

The recommendation should be guided by the principle that a compromise offer should be declined unless it fairly reflects (a) doubt that the government position will prevail, (b) doubt that judgment can be secured for an amount larger than that offered in compromise, (c) doubt that an amount larger than that offer can be collected, although a judgment has been or can be secured, or (d) the probability that cost of collection will exceed the difference between the amount recoverable and the amount offered.

[cited in USAM 5-5.210]

5-10.630

Authority of United States Attorneys to Settle or Dismiss Direct Referral Cases

The general authority of United States Attorneys to settle or dismiss direct referral cases under the supervision of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section is set forth in USAM 5-5.230.

Subject to the limitations imposed by this paragraph and section USAM 5-5.240, United States Attorneys are authorized, without prior approval of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, to settle all direct referral actions relating to wildlife law enforcement.

Telephonic notice shall be given to the Section prior to any such settlement or dismissal and copies of all relevant documents shall be forwarded to the Section. This notice requirement is waived in certain categories or cases discussed in USAM 5-10.312 and USAM 5-1.310.

[cited in USAM 5-5.210]