Get Endangered Species Information Using Web-based Tools
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office (CESFO) provides technical assistance to private individuals and organizations, as well as Federal, state, and local agencies pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (87 Stat. 884, as amended; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To assist project sponsors or applicants with the process of determining whether a Federally-listed species and/or “critical habitat” may occur within their proposed project area, we have developed web-based tools. These tools were developed primarily to assist Federal agencies that are consulting with us under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (87 Stat. 884, as amended; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Information, Planning, and Conservation (IPaC)
The Information, Planning, and Consultation System (IPAC System) is a decision support system and planning tool for streamlining the environmental review process. It provides you, our partners, with the ability to explore the landscape and help you to site your projects in a way that minimizes conflicts with natural resources. Through IPaC, you can get a preliminary USFWS species list, and request a USFWS Official Species list. Available, too, are links to species life history information, the USFWS Migratory Bird program, National Refuge lands, Coastal Barrier Resource Units, and the management of invasive species.
Map of Caribbean Threatened & Endangered Species
CESFO has developed the Species Map. This is an additional tool, a quick reference to find out where the Federally-listed species are known to occur, as well as those likely to occur, in any given municipality in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin islands. It identifies general areas where the species may be located. However, it does not represent the absolute distribution of the species and does not constitute a recommendation or comment issued by our agency in reference to a proposed project. This list represents the best available information regarding known or likely occurrences of Federally-listed species and is subject to change as new information becomes available. You can access this database at http://www.fws.gov/caribbean/es/PDF/Map.pdf
Critical Habitat Designations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Thirteen species in the Caribbean have Critical Habitat Designations. Critical habitat is a term defined and used in the Act. It is a specific geographic area(s) that is essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management and protection. Critical habitat may include an area that is not currently occupied by the species but that will be needed for its recovery. An area is designated as “critical habitat” after we publish a proposed Federal regulation in the Federal Register and then we receive and consider public comments on the proposal. The final boundaries of the critical habitat area is also published in the Federal Register.
A critical habitat designation has no effect on situations where a Federal agency is not involved. Federal agencies are required to consult with us on actions they carry out, fund, or authorize to ensure that their actions will not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Critical Habitat Designations for the Caribbean can be found at http://www.fws.gov/caribbean/es/PDF/CaribbeanCH.pdf
Please note that Section 9 of the ESA prohibits unauthorized taking of listed species and applies to Federal and non-Federal activities. Under the Act, it is illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import or export, ship in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any endangered fish or wildlife species and most threatened fish and wildlife species. It is also illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. “Harm” includes any act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife, and case law has clarified that such acts may include significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns of fish or wildlife. For projects not authorized, funded, or carried out by a Federal agency, consultation with the Service pursuant to Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA is not required. However, no person is authorized to “take” any listed species without appropriate authorizations from the Service. Therefore, we provide technical assistance to individuals and agencies to assist with project planning to avoid the potential for “take,” or when appropriate, to provide assistance with their application for an incidental take permit pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.
If the project is within the distribution of the species, additional information may be needed to determine the presence of habitat. In some cases, specialized surveys may be needed to determine the presence or absence of the species in a particular area.
For additional information on fish and wildlife resources or State-listed species, we suggest contacting the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
For further assistance, please feel free to contact us at (787) 851-7297 or visit our Web page at www.fws.gov/caribbean/es.
Project Review Process