Legislated Timelines for Formal Consultations
|These timelines refer to consultations between the Fish & Wildlife
Service and other federal agencies under the Endangered Species
Act. The Act specifies that we must accomplish the various stages
of the consultation within a specific time frame.
Some formal consultations involve a private party, company, Indian tribe or local agency.
An example would be when a private party needs to get a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to fill wetlands.
The Corps would consult with us about the permit.
Before Formal Consultation
|Within 30 days of initial contact, we provide a species list
to an federal agency regarding a proposed action that may affect
threatened or endangered species.
If the agency does not start their biological assessment within 90 days after receiving the list, they must update it. The agency must
also update their list if they have not completed their biological assessment within 180 days of receiving the official list.
During Formal Consultation
|Within 30 days of receiving a request for formal consultation,
we concur with the agency's biological assessment or notify them
that we do not concur. We notify the agency (in writing) that
we have enough information to initiate consultation or we request
that they submit more information (pursuant to 50 CFR 402.14(c)
and, if it is a major federal action, 50 CFR 402.12(f)).
Within 90 days, we complete the formal consultation. Consultation may
be extended if we and the other federal agency agree. (If a
non-federal applicant is involved, the extension is limited
to 60 days unless the applicant agrees to a longer extension.)
After Formal Consultation
|During the 45 day period after consultation, we write our final
biological opinion. There is no more consultation with the federal
agency or applicant during this period. We send a copy of the
opinion to the federal agency (and to the applicant if there is
one.) If the agency submits comments on a draft opinion during
the last 10 days before the deadline, we can take an automatic
10-day extension to complete the final opinion.
Timeline for other Actions
|We try to complete informal consultations, courtesy responses
to inquiries, technical assistance to non-federal parties, permit
actions and species lists not associated with formal consultations
within 30 days or less.
September 28, 2012