Virginia Ecological Services
Northeast Region

Project Reviews in Virginia

Step 4 - Suitable Habitat

Determine whether listed/proposed/candidate species may occur based on the habitat present within the action area for each species on the your species conclusions table.  Review the species information provided in IPaC, the species fact sheet, the information provided by VDGIF and VDCR-DNH, and any other sources of information (e.g., habitat assessments) available to determine whether the action area contains suitable habitat for each species.  Habitat assessments/surveys must be conducted by an approved surveyor. Refer to the Optimal Survey Times for Plants for additional guidance. If you have a previous survey of your site, consult the guidelines for survey expiration for plants and animals.  Surveys are valid for a certain period of time based on the species’ life history.  If your existing survey is no longer valid or the survey does not include the entire action area, obtain a new survey. 

(A). If you can confirm that suitable habitat is absent within the action area, add “no suitable habitat present” to the conclusion column in the species conclusions table for the appropriate species, and document what source(s) of information you consulted and why you reached that conclusion in the notes/documentation column of the species conclusions table.  Add this documentation to your project review package. 

(B). If there may be suitable habitat for a listed/proposed/candidate species or if you are uncertain about whether the habitat types may support any listed/proposed/candidate species, a detailed habitat assessment is recommended.  If the habitat assessment concludes that suitable habitat is absent, add "no suitable habitat present" to the conclusion column in the species conclusions table for the appropriate species, and include why you reached that conclusion in the notes/documentation column of the species conclusions table.  Add the habitat assessment to the project review package. 

(C). If suitable habitat occurs within action area, species surveys are recommended.

  1. If surveys indicate species are absent from the action area, add “suitable habitat present, species not present” to the conclusion column in the species conclusions table for the appropriate species.  Add the survey report to the project review package. 

  2. If surveys document that a species is present, add “species present” to the conclusion column in the species conclusions table for the appropriate species.  Add the survey report to the project review package.

(D). If surveys are not conducted and potential habitat occurs with action area, add "potential habitat present and no current survey conducted" to the conclusion column in the species conclusions table for the appropriate species.

Conclusions should be filled in for all species at this point.  If there are species on your list without conclusions, return to Step 3 and continue through the review process until you have the appropriate conclusion for each species.  When all conclusions are complete, continue to Step 5

Project Reviews
Introduction
Step 1 - Action Area

Step 2 - Official Species List
Step 3 - State Coordination
Step 4 - Suitable Habitat
Step 5 - Critical Habitat
Step 6a - Eagle Nests
Step 6b - Eagle Concentration Areas
Step 7 - Determinations

Step 8 - Project Review Package


Endangered Species

- Species in Virginia
- Species by County/City
- Species Fact Sheets


Critical Habitat
- What is it ?
- Critical Habitat Mapper

Permits & HCPs
- Endangered Species Permits
- Warren Co. Power Station Low Effect HCP

General Info
- Plants and the ESA
- Bald Eagle Information
- Mussel Guidelines
- Northern Long-eared Bat Interim Conference and Planning Guidance (PDF - 1.2MB)

Communication Towers
- Service Guidance on the Siting, Construction, Operation and Decommissioning of Communication Towers

Surveys/Habitat Assessments
- Approved Surveyors (for federally listed species & karst geology in Virginia)
- How to be a Surveyor
- Optimal Survey Times: PLANTS
- How long is an ANIMAL survey valid?
- How long is a PLANT survey valid?
- 2014 Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidance

Last updated: January 27, 2014
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.