Project Planning and Consultation
The Project Planning and Consultation section provides Fish and Wildlife Service expertise to large-scale planning efforts in the areas of energy, transportation and water and coastal development. Projects include flood control, transportation, navigation, water supply, hydroelectric power, private development, recreation, streambank and shoreline protection and beach nourishment.
Biologists assist project proponents, planners, and agency personnel in developing plans that conserve, restore or enhance fish and wildlife while at the same time accomplishing the objectives of the proposed action. Biologists have numerous duties which include: reviewing and providing recommendations on plans and development designs, crafting mitigation plans, providing expertise in wildlife and habitat management, and serving as members of planning teams.
The project planning biologists work directly with other Federal agencies and programs in the state, along with other partners on infrastructure development projects to protect the environment and preserve North Carolina's biological, terrestrial and aquatic natural resources. This section accomplishes its mission through:
- working cooperatively with partners early in the planning process to identify ways to simultaneously conserve wildlife while accomplishing project objectives
- supplying the best possible technical information to ensure fish and wildlife resources and their public benefits are considered
- working at a landscape level when possible, providing guidance that can be applied broadly over a large area with numerous projects
- focusing on high priority habitats and projects
- working cooperatively with other Service biologists and other resource agencies to effectively gather information on species, their habitats, and the potential impacts of human development
- participating in statewide/metropolitan planning processes or State transportation plans (STPs); identifying and promoting innovative practices that protect natural resources; while streamlining the environmental review process; and
- promoting partnerships with other Federal, State, and local governments and non-governmental organization to address the efforts above
Project Planning and Consultation accomplishments include:
- successfully negotiating a settlement agreement with Progress Energy on the relicensing of two hydropower dams on the Yadkin and Pee Dee rivers. The agreement will ensure safe, timely and effective passage of American shad and American eel during the life of the new license (approximately 40 years). Under the agreement, approximately 220 miles of riverine habitat will be re-opened for American shad spawning, and 3,489 miles of habitat will be re-opened for use by American eel.
- providing a liaison to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). This person reviews projects each year and participates in a combined Section 404/NEPA Merger Process for all major NCDOT projects. The Merger Process provides a systematic and collaborative approach to planning and designing transportation projects. In this process, difficult issues are identified and addressed early in the planning process so that impacts to fish and wildlife resources can be avoided or minimized to the maximal extent.
Project Planning and Consultation - Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act directs all federal agencies to use their existing authorities to conserve endangered and threatened species and, in consultation with the Service, to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Section 7 applies to the management of federal lands as well as federal actions that may affect listed species, such as federal approval of private activities through the issuance of federal funding, permits, licenses, or other actions.