NDOW Divisions

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is the state agency responsible for the protection, restoration and management of fish and wildlife resources, and the promotion of boating safety on Nevada’s waters. In order to most effectively meet these responsibilities NDOW has seven different divisions focusing on various aspects of the ultimate responsibilities. These include:


Operations Division

The Operations Division is responsible for the business affairs of the department which include the management of the customer service programs comprised of licensing, boat titling and registration, application hunts; special licenses and permits; land agent activities; engineering services; computer and networking services; and statewide building maintenance. The Operations Division is also responsible for the department’s aviation program.


Wildlife Diversity

Conserving the state's unique wildlife diversity is a major challenge. In 2001, funds were made available through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to support the enhancement of non-game programs. In February of 2002 the Nevada Department of Wildlife non-game biologists became part of the new Wildlife Diversity Division, and on July 1, 2002 NDOW began focusing on the non-game resources of the state.

Unfortunately, we are losing much of Nevada's biodiversity. There are 29 native species listed as threatened or endangered in Nevada. Many natural ecosystems have been degraded to the point that they no longer provide essential products or services.

Biodiversity -(which means a variation in natural ecosystems, native species, and the genetic variation within each species), comprises a vital resource for Nevada. Natural ecosystems perform critical services including regulation of the climate and hydrologic cycle, replenishment of soils and their fertility, and detoxification of wastes. Native species provide timber, forage, harvestable fish and wildlife, and are integral to ecosystem function.

It has been the responsibility of the personnel in the Wildlife Diversity Division to compile division data on the abundance and distribution of many of the less well-known wildlife species of Nevada. The division has taken historical wildlife records, records of scientifically collected specimens, records of commercially collected specimens, and other wildlife related data and created several large databases. These databases are distributed to biologists around the state and also shared with other agencies to help everyone make well-informed decisions on the management of natural resources.

Nevada Wildlife Action Plan

View a USFWS list of Nevada's threatened and endangered species

Geographic Information System

In addition to assembly and distribution of wildlife data, the Biodiversity Section houses the division's Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is a new and rapidly emerging technology that provides the Division with an extremely powerful tool with which to analyze wildlife and their habitats. Each of the division's three regions has a GIS capable workstation. Regional GIS workstations are assigned to a regional biologist who is trained in software operation. The GIS allows biologists to view animal distributions through time and space, looking for changes in distribution, abundance, and behavior.

Once data is entered and a map is created, the new map can be overlaid with up to 38 other maps and can then be queried for any number of attributes. In a project containing maps of topography, vegetation, land ownership, streams, lakes, and roads, a person could select on any of a unique set of conditions. For example, the GIS could be asked to display only those areas that are publicly owned lands between 6000' and 9000' elevation, with bitterbrush, sagebrush, serviceberry, and mountain mahogany, within 25 miles of a road and 10 miles of water. In a project completed for the Game Bureau, total area (sq. miles) for each of the hunt units was calculated with the GIS as well as total area (sq. miles) of each land ownership class in each of the hunt units. Eventually we may calculate areas of each vegetation type on public and private lands within each hunt unit.

Map Analysis Shows Species/Habitat Relationships

With any species population or distribution data, we can create a map to explore relationships between species and their habitats, or species and other species. We can perform these type of analyses for any species for which we have or can collect data. Long term data sets are particularly useful in elucidating habitat/species and species/species relationships, as cause and/or effect of changes in distributions through time are often evident. For example, total area (sq. miles) of high quality deer winter forage could be calculated for any given wintering area and compared with total number of deer occupying that area. An analysis such as this can be used to identify factors limiting a species growth, distribution, or even the carrying capacity of the range in some instances.

We have a vegetation map of the entire state with sixty-five cover-types defined. Therefore, in any analysis, vegetation can be analyzed as an individual species, i.e. bitterbrush, or grouped as multiple species, i.e. bitterbrush, sagebrush, serviceberry, and mountain mahogany. By analyzing and interpreting data on ecosystems and species distributions, we can identify which segments of land are better suited for different uses.

A sustainable future for Nevada depends upon the proper management of its biological resources. As the state's population continues to grow, so do conflicts over management and resource use. Equitable solutions to these conflicts are facilitated by the accurate data and objective science the Biodiversity Section is committed to provide.


Conservation Education Division

The Conservation Education Division works to promote Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) programs, services and recreational opportunities. The Division educates the public about state wildlife and boating rules and regulations, as well as other wildlife, habitat and fishing issues. The Division also strives to involve students, teachers and the public through hunter, angler and wildlife education programs. Additionally, the Division has developed a volunteer program to provide the public a hands on way to get involved in projects like seed gathering or fish stocking.

Information programs:

  • Weekly television and radio programs
  • Press releases and media contacts
  • Publications
  • Website - email us
  • Marketing & Public Affairs

Education programs:

  • Hunter Education
  • Angler Education (Fishing Clinics, Trout in the Classroom)
  • Wildlife Education

Volunteer Programs:

PROWL - Preserving Our Wildlife Legacy, continued to progress in 2004 using the efforts of 453 volunteers who contributed more than 18,516 hours of service to the department. Volunteers participate in projects such as seed collection and plantings, fish stocking and salvage, sage grouse lek surveys, and bighorn sheep and chukar capture and relocation efforts. Recently, these volunteer efforts were valued at an estimated $560,000 in time and mileage that applied as in-kind match to federal grants.

The benefits of the volunteer program are many, including connecting people with wildlife, accomplishing more work than normally possible, increasing awareness of the Department's role, and generating positive publicity for wildlife.


Fisheries Division

The Fisheries Division works to ensure the health and vitality of Nevada's fish in its network of streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Hatcheries produce and stock fish, and biologists manage fish and amphibian populations, water quality and aquatic habitat.

Fish management tools:

  • Hatcheries and rearing stations plus stocking program
  • Stream surveys
  • Electro-fishing and netting population surveys
  • Acquisition of Habitat and conservation pools
  • Water quality and habitat enhancement

Fisheries issues:


Game Division

The Game Division is responsible for management, protection, research and monitoring of wildlife classified as game mammals, upland and migratory game birds and furbearing mammals. The Division has four program areas: avian and terrestrial game species management, game wildlife/depredation control and compensation, predator management and wildlife health and disease monitoring.

Visit the Hunting section for specific information about hunting game in Nevada.


Habitat Division

The Habitat Division's main objective is to ensure that Nevada wildlife habitats are productive and in good ecological condition.

The Division is responsible for reviewing, assessing, and providing comments on all proposed land and water uses, providing fish and wildlife data to all entities for planning and decision-making purposes.

The Habitat Division is also responsible for planning, operating, and maintaining approximately 120,000 acres of state-owned lands administered as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s).

The Division is also responsible for administering the water development, rangeland, and wildfire rehabilitation efforts for the department. Additionally, the bureau has regulatory responsibility for Industrial Artificial Pond permitting (primarily the nearly 100 Nevada gold mining operations) statewide.

Some of the Division's most Recent Accomplishments include:

  • In cooperation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, completed acquisition of 2,105 acres of quality wildlife habitat for annexation to the Mason Valley WMA.
  • Continued to provide comments and recommendations annually on hundreds of land use planning proposals associated with the proposed establishment of geothermal, solar and wind generation power projects, mining operations and other land uses to be located on public and private lands throughout the state.
  • Continue to coordinate with the Bureau of Land Management on their development and management of wild horse populations in the state by supporting wild horse gathers, identifying land use impacts resulting from wild horse and burro use and working towards minimizing impacts to wildlife populations and their habitat.
  • Completed the construction of 13 ponds and other wetland enhancement projects at the Steptoe Wildlife Management Area near Ely.
  • Completed the installation of over 5,000 lineal feet of pipe to improve water delivery efficiency at the Overton WMA. This project was accomplished with Question 1 bond funding.
  • Continued range rehabilitation work on wildlife habitat that has been damaged by wildfire, overtaken by noxious invasive weedy species or damaged by historic land use practices. Seed mixtures are enhanced to provide forage and cover for target species including sage grouse, mule deer and migratory birds.
  • In cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, completed pond leveling and the installation of pumps and pipelines to improve water use efficiency at the Mason Valley WMA.
  • Continued the construction and maintenance of large and small game water developments throughout the state. This program receives significant support from sportsmen's organizations as well as private individuals and industry.
  • Initiated the formation of the Nevada Partners for Conservation Development – a unique partnership of several natural resource agencies and organizations committed to providing solutions to a host of conservations issues throughout the state.

Law Enforcement Division

The Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for protecting Nevada’s wildlife resources and ensuring the safety of the boating public, which includes enforcing the provisions of Nevada Revised Statutes and all other regulations that affect wildlife issues.

Support activities of this division include implementing Operation Game Thief, and providing warden training, public assistance, and radio communications. In 2000, Nevada’s 35 game wardens handled patrol duties over the entire area of the state; approximately 110,000 square miles. Most wardens patrol an area of 3,235 square miles, while a few are responsible for patrol areas of nearly 10,000 square miles


Director's Office

See the Directors