Section 7 Consultation
Federal agencies consult with us to avoid Jeopardizing the existence of listed species or their Critical Habitat, which would violate the Endangered Species Act. These consultations are conducted under section 7 of the Act.
Non-Federal parties, including individuals, cannot consult directly under section 7. However, there are many ways to make a "nexus" between a non-Federal project and a Federal agency. This allows non-Federal parties to consult indirectly through that agency.
If you request a permit or funding from a Federal agency for a project that could affect listed species, then the agency would consult with us about your project. Examples include: Federal water serves the property, Federal highway funds are used, or a Federal wetlands (Corps of Engineers) permit is needed.
Habitat Conservation Plans
If you have a project that may adversely affect listed species, but no Federal agency is involved in the process, then you may need to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan. This is generally a longer, more comprehensive process.
Formal vs. Informal Consultation
If a Federal agency believes that a project may Adversely Affect a listed species, it requests a Formal Consultation. If the agency believes that the project may affect the species, but not adversely, it asks for an Informal Consultation.
In a formal consultation, the action agency asks us to concur that their project will not Jeopardize the species.
In an informal consultation, the action agency asks us to concur that their project is Not Likely to Adversely Affect the species.
When possible, we do a Programmatic Consultation that address many small projects.
Whenever possible, we do a programmatic consultation that addresses multiple projects. These opinions typically cover small projects. They require that applicants take specific steps to protect endangered species.
Projects that fit these criteria can go through a streamlined process. Click on the link above to to access some of our programmatic biological opinions.
After we do a formal consultation, we write a Biological Opinion. This is our determination about whether a listed species will be jeopardized or critical habitat adversely modified. It is the basis for actions that need to be taken to minimize impact to the species.