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U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center Charity Profile
The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the Biological Resources Discipline of the United States Geological Survey. The NWHC was established in 1975 as a biomedical laboratory dedicated to assessing the impact of disease on wildlife and to identifying the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses.
The mission of the National Wildlife Health Center is to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, and to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research, education, and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues.
Background and Activities
Each year, wildlife managers across the United States are confronted with sick and dead animals, frequently on a large scale. Minimizing such wildlife losses depends on effective technical support, knowledgeable guidance, and timely intervention. The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) mission is to provide information, technical assistance, and research on national and international wildlife health issues. To fulfill the NWHC mission, the Center monitors disease and assesses the impact of disease on wildlife populations; defines ecological relationships leading to the occurrence of disease; transfers technology for disease prevention and control; and provides guidance, training and on-site assistance for reducing wildlife losses when outbreaks occur.
The NWHC is located in Madison, Wisconsin. The modern buildings and laboratories are designed exclusively for combatting wildlife diseases. Due to the mobility of wildlife and the potential for spread of disease, timely and accurate determination of causes of wildlife illness and death is a prerequisite to achieving effective disease control and prevention. National wildlife refuge personnel, law enforcement agents, state conservation agency biologists, university-affiliated scientists and others send wildlife carcasses and tissue samples to the NWHC for diagnostic examination. The Center has a staff of over seventy scientists and support personnel who offer services and conduct activities to prevent and control wildlife diseases. The Center had a major role in conducting field studies and providing expert testimony that resulted in the conversion to nontoxic shot for hunting waterfowl in the United States.
Center field investigations provide immediate technical assistance to field personnel who find sick and dead wildlife. NWHC personnel provide instructions on collection, preservation, and shipment of specimens for laboratory examination and will travel to problem areas to conduct field investigations and assist local personnel with disease control operations. They respond to catastrophic events, such as major die-offs, that threaten the health of wildlife populations. Assistance is provided for disease problems that involve migratory birds, endangered species and other warm-blooded wildlife that live on Department of Interior (DOI) lands throughout the United States.
Center staff also provide expertise regarding animal welfare regulations and their application to wildlife. Technical assistance regarding animal welfare matters is often provided to wildlife biologists and others. Preparation of videotapes, publications, consultations and training are activities commonly carried out by the Center in the animal welfare arena.
Environmental Commitment And Policy Statement
We at the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) are committed to reducing the environmental impacts from our activities and facility operations and taking a leading role in promoting environmental stewardship. We will maintain compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and conduct scientific research, facility management operations, and administrative services in a manner designed to provide excellence in science while protecting the environment and the people who live and work in that environment. We will strive to manage environmental matters as an integral part of our business planning and decisions, including design, procurement, research, facilities management, and supporting services. Therefore, NWHC staff members will:
Protect the health and safety of all employees, contractors, volunteers, and the general public who visit our facilities;
Implement and maintain an environmental management system that aids in identifying and minimizing negative impacts of the Science Centerís operations on the environment through a program of continual improvement in environmental performance that embraces all program functions supported by this facility;
Comply with all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and directives by implementing programs and procedures to assure compliance;
Uphold sustained compliance as a key consideration in facility training and incentive programs and as a focus for periodic performance reviews of all employees;
Promote a workplace in which all employees are properly trained to comply with applicable laws, regulations, and directives to meet environmental program goals and to take personal responsibility for implementation of the program;
Strive to be a leader improving environmental quality by minimizing waste and emissions, reusing and recycling materials, reducing use of natural resources, and promoting pollution prevention efforts throughout our facilities;
Share information on our commitment to environmental performance improvement with our employees, vendors, customers, and external stakeholders;
Monitor operations through audits and other means to assure that practices in our workplace conform to our policies.
Managers and supervisors at all levels of NWHC are responsible for ensuring that this policy is communicated and adhered to by all employees and contractors and that it is made available to interested members of the public.