New Jersey Field Office Procedures for Consultation and Technical Assistance
What is consultation?
Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires Federal agencies to consult with the Service to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, permit, or otherwise carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitats. Federal agencies are not required to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) if a proposed action will have no effect on listed species, or if no species are present in the action area. However, Federal agencies must initiate consultation with the Service if a proposed action may affect one or more listed species. For more information see the Service's national consultation web page.
What is technical assistance?
The Service provides review of non-Federal actions that may affect federally listed species or their habitats as technical assistance. Technical assistance helps:
- avoid or minimize adverse effects to listed species;
- avoid unintentional violations of the ESA Section 9, which prohibits unauthorized take of listed wildlife;
- determine if a Section 10 permit and submission of a Habitat Conservation Plan are needed; and
- ensure compliance with New Jersey land use regulations.
How and why are the consultation and technical assistance procedures changing in New Jersey?
Until 2008, the Service's New Jersey Field Office reviewed approximately 1,500 project proposals per year as ESA consultation or technical assistance. Due to decreased staff resources, the Service reduced this workload by eliminating individual review of proposed actions that will have no effect on listed species. Service concurrence with a no effect determination is not required under the ESA and will not be provided by the New Jersey Field Office.
In particular, the Service can no longer review proposed actions in New Jersey unless the Federal action agency or non-Federal project proponent has already determined that proposed activities may affect one or more federally listed species. This web site provides information to assist both Federal and non-Federal project proponents in determining which actions may affect listed species, and how to request consultation or technical assistance from the Service.
Do You Need to Consult with the New Jersey Field Office?
Before requesting ESA Section 7 consultation or technical assistance, please:
Determine if federally listed species are likely to occur in the proposed project area by reviewing the municipality list. If the proposed project is not located in a municipality with extant, historic, or potential occurence of a federally listed species (i.e., extirpated occurences only, or not on the list), no further action is required. The Service recommends retaining documentation of your determination in your project files. You can use this letter to document the New Jersey Field Office's policy of not providing concurrence with a "no effect" determination. (Note that under the ESA, a species list is valid for only 90 days. New occurrences of listed and candidate species and potentially suitable habitat are discovered periodically. Therefore, the NJFO recommends that you visit this web site at regular intervals during project planning and implementation for updates to species lists and information.)
Notice: iPac is Now Available! The Service has launched the first phase of the Information, Planning, and Conservation System (iPac). iPac is a new web-based service to provide information about sensitive resources within the vicinity of proposed projects. Project proponents in New Jersey now have an option. You can continue to obtain your species list using our municipality list. Or you can obtain your species list from iPac. Currently, both methods will return the same species list, except that iPac will not list beach-dependant species for projects in inland portions of coastal municipalities. As iPac functions are expanded and refined, the NJFO may - in the future - discontinue use of the municipality list for purposes of consultations and techincal assistance.
When using iPac, be careful about drawing the boundary of your Project Location. Remember that the action area under the ESA is not the same as the footprint of the project. The action area includes areas that may be indirectly affected through impacts such as noice, visual disturbance, erosion, sedimentation, hydrologic change, chemical exposure, reduced availability or access to food resources, barriers to movement, and the effects of reasonably forseeable future activities that are unlikely to occur absent ("but for") the project currently proposed.
If iPac indicates, "There are no listed species found within the vicinity of your project," then no further action is required (see step #1, above.) If iPac returns one or more listed species, you should return to this page and complete steps #2-4 below.
- If the proposed project is located in a municipality with extant, historic, or potential occurence of a federally listed species - or if iPac returns one or more listed species - review the habitat requirements of each species to evaluate whether the project's impact area (i.e., the action area) contains potentially suitable habitat for any federally listed species.
- If existing information or field surveys demonstrate that no potentially suitable habitat is located within the project's impact area (i.e., the action area), no further action is required. The Service recommends retaining documentation of your determination in your project files. You can use this letter to document the New Jersey Field Office's policy of not providing concurrence with a "no effect" determination.
- If existing information or field surveys demonstrate that potentially suitable habitat is or may be located within the project's impact area (i.e., the action area), submit your assessment and all relevant project information to the NJFO.
Coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's New Jersey Field Office as early as possible:
If any federally listed species are known or likely to occur within the project's impact area (i.e., the action area), or if you believe that a proposed action may affect a listed species, you should coordinate with the Service's New Jersey Field Office as early as possible when planning your project (see instructions below). Please note, however, that consultation with the Service should be coordinated through the New Jersey Division of Land Use Regulation's permitting process for any project that will require authorization under the State's Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act. New occurrences of listed species and potential habitat are found periodically in New Jersey so be sure to revisit our site often to obtain updated information.
Site-Specific Information Needed for Review
Before requesting ESA consultation or technical assistance for proposed projects in New Jersey, please review the municipality list, species information, and guidelines regarding when consultation or technical assistance is necessary. If you determine that you need to consult with the NJFO, or require technical assistance, you can assist us in expediting your request by providing specific information about the proposed project and site. Due to staffing constraints, submissions lacking necessary project information will be returned.
The name of the project or property, including municipality, county, and Block and Lot number.
The location of the subject property and extent of any project-related activities or discharges clearly delineated on a copy of a U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle (Quad) map with the name of the Quad(s) clearly labeled. Please provide the maps at a scale depicting at least a 1-mile radius surrounding the subject property and any affected areas. For large or linear projects, or batched reviews of multiple sites, please also provide ESRI-compatible GIS files (e.g.,shapefiles with the projection indicated) depicting the project route(s) or area(s), if available.
The name(s) of any Federal agency authorizing, providing funding for, and/or carrying out the proposed project. If the project is non-Federal, please indicate this in your request for technical assistance.
Indication whether American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Federal economic stimulus) funds will be used for the project.
Indication whether a State Freshwater Wetland permit will be required, and a list of any other non-Federal authorizations being sought.
A brief description of the proposed project (e.g., residential, commercial), including proposed utilities, stormwater management, and project plans if available. Include expected start date and duration of project activities.
A description of the natural characteristics of the property and surrounding area (e.g., forested areas, freshwater wetlands, open waters, and soils). Additionally, please include a description of surrounding land use (e.g., residential, agricultural, or commercial) and a description of the area to be impacted by the proposed project, including trees and other vegetative cover types to be removed.
|Please note the following REQUIRED information: For projects in municipalities with known or potential occurence of the Indiana bat, please indicate whether or not tree clearing is proposed. If so, describe the species, size (diameter at breast height), and number (or acres) of trees proposed for removal, and indicate whether clearing of tress >5 inches in diameter at breast height will be seasonally restricted (from April 1 to November 15 in municipalities with Hibernation occurence; from April 1 to September 30 in municipalities with Maternity or Potential occurence).
- Pictures of the project area along with project plans or a map indicating the orientation of the pictures.
- A copy of any surveys or environmental evaluations conducted. Please conduct habitat suitability surveys for any federally listed threatened or endangered species that may occur in the area prior to requesting consultation with our office, and submit a copy of the survey results with your request.
- Indication of which federally listed species may occur within the project's impact area (the action area), based on the pre-screening instructions provided on this page.
- Proposed measures to avoid impacts to federally listed species. Consider these Best Management Practicies that may be applicable to project involving the following species: bog turtle, piping plover, Indiana bat, dwarf wedgemussel, swamp pink, Knieskern's beaked-rush, and seabeach amaranth.
- Your assessment of impacts to federally listed threatened and endangered species from proposed project activities, and your determination of whether or not federally listed species will be adversely affected.
- Your contact information including telephone number (with any extension), fascimile number, U.S. mailing address, and electronic mail address.
Submitting a Request
Please mail (do not fax or e-mail) the above information along with your request for informal Section 7 consultation or technical assistance to the address listed below. The NJFO understands that all the information requested above may not be available at the time you make your request (e.g., detailed project plans); however, please provide as much information as possible to expedite our review, especially listed species surveys and environmental evaluations.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
New Jersey Field Office
927 North Main Street, Building D
Pleasantville, New Jersey 08232
ATTENTION: ESA Consultation
The NJFO strives to respond to all requests for informal Section 7 consultation on Federal projects, technical assistance requests for non-Federal projects, and public inquiries, within 30 days after all necessary information is received. Receipt of incomplete information may delay our response substantially.
Our response will have a control number in the upper left corner of the letter; please refer to this number during any subsequent correspondence.
Referrals to Other Agencies
Other government agencies have additional information about federally and State-listed species. Click here for other agency contact information.
Also see these frequently asked questions about the State Landscape Project, which includes habitat mapping for federally listed wildlife species.
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