Asheville Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America





Outline of a Biological Assessment / Biological Evaluation
(Information to Include in a Complete Initiation Package)

A.    Cover letter - Include project title, purpose, and effect determinations for each listed species and designated critical habitat (i.e., no effect; may affect, not likely to adversely affect; and/or, may affect, likely to adversely affect).

B.    Project description - Describe the proposed action and the project area.  Be specific and quantify whenever possible.  Include maps, drawings, photographs, and any other materials that may help the reviewer understand the project.

C.    Species and suitable habitat and critical habitat description(s)
        For each species:
        1.   Describe the affected environment (quantify whenever possible)
        2.   Describe the species biology
        3.   Describe current conditions for each species
            a.   Rangewide
            b.   In the project area/action area
            c.   Cumulative effects of State and private actions in the project area
            d.   Other consultations of federal actions in the area to date
        4.   Describe critical habitat (if applicable)

D.    Effects of the proposed action - Describe effects of the proposed action on each species and/or designated critical habitat, including:
        1.   Direct effects
        2.   Indirect effects
        3.   Effects of interrelated and interdependent actions
        4.   Cumulative effects

E.    Conservation measures - Describe conservation measures, or actions, that are committed to be completed, taken to benefit or promote the recovery of listed species that are included as an integral part of the proposed action (protective measures to minimize or compensate for effects to each species).

F.    Conclusion(s) - Provide effect determinations for each species and/or critical habitat.

G.    Literature Cited - Provide a list of literature cited or data referenced.

H.    List of Preparers - Provide a list of preparers and contacts, as well as their affiliations and qualifications.

For additional information regarding the Interagency Coordination and Consultation process, please visit the Service's Consultation with Federal Agencies website.


Note: Fish & Wildlife Service project planning and review is coordinated by the Asheville Field Office in the western half of North Carolina and by the Raleigh Field Office in the eastern half.

Map: Asheville and Raleigh Field Offices work areas. Credit: USFWS Link to Raleigh Field Office web site


The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has developed a A Guidance Memorandum to Address and Mitigate Secondary and Cumulative Impacts to Aquatic and Terrestrial Wildlife Resources and Water Quality. The memorandum provides numerous recommendations to address the environmental impacts that may result from a project. We support this document and encourage you to use it.

Photo montage of biologists shocking for fish, a biologists studying a plant, and biologists recording mussel data. Photo credits: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service



Project planning and review contacts:

Address for all:
160 Zillicoa St.
Asheville, NC 28801

Allen Ratzlaff
office - 828/258-3939, ext 229
fax - 828/258-5330
Projects involving the USDA (Forest Service, Rural Utilities Services, Farm Services, and Rural Development) National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Authority, Federal Transportation Administration or Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as mines and industrial parks

Marella Buncick
office - 828/258-3939, ext. 237
cell - 828/215-1743
fax - 828/258-5330
Projects involving the North Carolina Department of Transportation or Federal Highway Administration

Mark Cantrell
office - 828/258-3939, ext. 227
cell - 828/215-1739
fax - 828/258-5330
Projects involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Tennessee Valley Authority, or Natural Resources Conservation Service

Bryan Tompkins
office - 828/258-3939, ext. 240
fax - 828/258-5330
Projects involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jay Mays
office - 828/258-3939, ext. 226
cell - 828/216-4969
fax - 828/258-5330
Projects involving the North Carolina Department of Transportation or Federal Highway Administration


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Last Updated: May 15, 2008