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Section 7 Consultation Technical Assistance

Glossary of Terms

 

Action area is the geographic area encompassing all the physical, chemical, & biological changes that will occur directly or indirectly from the proposed action. Action area is typically larger than the footprint of the project and its direct impacts.

 

Beneficial effects are positive responses without any negative response. This analysis is done at the individual level. If an action will have beneficial effects for the species overall, but adversely impacts one or more individuals in the process, "likely to adversely affect" is the appropriate conclusion.

 

Constituent elements are the physical and biological features of designated or proposed critical habitat essential to the conservation of the species, including, but not limited to: (1) space for inidvidual and population growth, and for normal behavior; (2) food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; (3) cover or shelter; (4) sitess for breeding, reporduction, rearing of offspring, germination, or seed dispersal; (5) habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic geopgraphic and ecological distributions of a species.

 

Critical habitat - Specific geographic areas, whether occupied by listed species or not, that are determined to be essential for the conservation and management of listed species, and that have been formally described in the Federal Register.

 

Direct effects - Effects that are caused by or will result from, and occur contemporaneous with, the proposed action. For more detailed information see "Effects of the Action."

 

Discountable means extremely unlikely to occur.

 

Environmental changes include the physical, biotic, and chemical changes in the environment that will occur.

 

Potential for Exposure means that there may be a co-occurrence with the species or critical habitat and the proposed action.

 

Document your finding In fulfilling the requirements of section 7, we must use the best available scientific and commercial data. Thus, it is important that your administrative record describe the data you used and where you searched for the information.

 

Effects of the action can be direct or indirect. Direct effects are those that are caused by the action and occur contemporaneous with the action, e.g., felling a tree directly causes injury to nesting chicks. Indirect effects are impacts that are caused by the action but occur later in time. For example, constructing an ORV trail facilitates predator access into piping plover nesting habitat causing increased loss of chicks due to predation. For an impact to qualify as a direct or indirect effect, it must have a causal relationship with the action. That is, the effects must flow from that particular action. “Flow” means there is a logical, unbroken, traceable, explainable, predictable, chain of events that result in, or “cause” a given effect on listed species. The difference between “direct effects” and “indirect effects” is that direct effects flow immediately from the action and indirect effects are further removed in time and possibly distance.

 

Harm is defined to include significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

 

Harass is defined as actions that create the likelihood of injury to listed species to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns which include, but are not limited to breeding, feeding or sheltering.

 

Indirect effects - Effects that are caused by or will result from the proposed action and are later in time, but are still reasonably certain to occur. For more detailed information see "Effects of the Action."

 

Insignificant effects are responses that are incapable of being detected, measured, or evaluated. This analysis relates to the amount or extent of the impact. If the impact will likely be negative but the consequences are so minute that a person could not measure or detect such responses, then it is appropriate to conclude insignificant effects.

 

May affect is the appropriate conclusion when the species or critical habitat may, based on the available information, be exposed and may respond upon exposure. This analysis occurs at the individual level. The appropriate conclusion for an action that may not affect the species as a whole but will impact individuals in some manner is "may affect."

 

May be present means species or critical habitat are potentially present in the action area. To conclude "not present," evidence of absence is necessary, e.g., lack of suitable habitat or negative survey results.

 

No effect is a definitive statement implying that the weight of available evidence indicates that either: (1) there will be no exposure to the environmental impacts resulting from the proposed action, or (2) neither the species nor the critical habitat will respond in any manner (i.e., behaviorally, physiologically, or chemically) upon exposure to the proposed action.

Note: even a beneficial response qualifies as a "may affect."

 

Species Responseis the physical, behavioral, and physiological reactions of individuals upon exposure (e.g., startle, abandon the area, decrease feeding, reduce fecundity, alter mating behaviors, etc.).

 

For critical habitat, it is the physical changes (e.g., increase sediment load, decrease soil pH, destroy habitat, etc.) that will occur.

 

Take is defined as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct.

 

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Last updated: June 10, 2014