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Trust Resources

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Department of Agriculture

Examples of resources under the trusteeship of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) include:

  • Federal rangeland;
  • Federally-managed fisheries;
  • Federally-owned or managed farmland;
  • Land enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program; and
  • National forest land.

The following offices within the USDA are responsible for the management and/or protection of the resources listed above: Forest Service; Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Conservation Reserve Program.

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Department of Commerce

Examples of resources under the trusteeship of the Secretary of the Department of Commerce (DOC) include:

  • Coastal environments, including salt marshes, tidal flats, estuaries, or other tidal wetlands;
  • Designated Estuarine Research Reserves or Marine Sanctuaries;
  • Endangered marine species;
  • Marine mammals; and
  • Rivers or tributaries to rivers which historically support or presently support anadromous fish (fish that spend a portion of their lifetime in both fresh and salt water; e.g., salmon).

The DOC Secretary delegated Trustee responsibility to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The following offices or groups within NOAA have responsibilities which include the protection and management of natural resources: National Marine Fisheries Service; Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management; Office of Oceanography and Marine Services; and the General Counsel. For cases involving resources in coastal waters and anadromous fish streams, DOC acts as a co-Trustee with the Department of the Interior.

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Department of Defense

The Secretary of the Department of Defense (DOD) has trusteeship over the Natural Resources on all lands owned by DOD or the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Defense Logistics Agency. These lands include military bases and training facilities, research and development facilities, and munitions plants.

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Department of Energy

The Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) has trusteeship over natural resources under its jurisdiction, custody, or control. DOE's land-holdings include national research and development laboratories, facilities, and offices.

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Department of the Interior

Examples of resources under the trusteeship of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) include:

  • Certain anadromous fish;
  • Certain endangered species;
  • Certain marine mammals;
  • Federally-owned minerals;
  • Migratory birds;
  • National Wildlife Refuges and Fish Hatcheries;
  • National Parks and Monuments; and
  • Tribal resources, in cases where the U.S. acts on behalf of the Indian Tribe.

The following offices within DOI are responsible for the management and protection of the resources listed above: Bureau of Indian Affairs; Bureau of Land Management; Bureau of Mines; Bureau of Reclamation; Fish & Wildlife Service; Minerals Management Service; National Park Service; and U.S. Geological Survey.

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States

State Trustees act on behalf of the public for natural resources, including ground and surface water, and the resources' supporting ecosystems, that are:

  • Within the boundary of the State; or
  • Belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to the State.

Examples of resources under the trusteeship of individual State officials include:

  • State forest lands;
  • State-owned minerals;
  • State parks and monuments;
  • State rare, threatened, and endangered species; and
  • State wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries.

The office and/or group responsible for each of these resources varies between States.

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Indian Tribes

Indian Tribe Trustees act on behalf of the Indian Tribe for natural resources, including their supporting ecosystems, that are:

  • Belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to such Tribe;
  • Held in trust for the benefit of the Tribe; or
  • Belonging to a member of the Tribe, if such resources are subject to a trust restriction on alienation.

Examples of resources under the trusteeship of Tribal groups include:

  • Tribal-owned minerals;
  • Ground and surface water resources on Tribal lands; and
  • Any other natural resources found on Tribal land.

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