Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Ecological Services

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.
Last updated: September 28, 2012