Section 7 Consultation
If a Federal agency believes that its project will adversely affect a listed species, the agency will request a Formal Consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. See our Consultation page for more about consultations, including information about non-Federal projects.
After the formal consultation, we write a Biological Opinion. This document states our opinion on whether the project is likely to jeopardize a listed species or destroy or adversely modify a listed species' critical habitat.
We nearly always determine that projects will not jeopardize a species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. These are called Non-Jeopardy determinations.
When we make a non-jeopardy determination, we advise the action agency of Reasonable and Prudent Measures we believe are necessary and appropriate to minimize the effect of the project.
We also set Terms and Conditions that the agency must follow. If they follow the terms and conditions, the adverse affect that their project causes to species is allowed.
The biological opinion includes an Incidental Take Statement that spells out how much "take" is allowed. Take includes more than just killing listed species. It includes harassing, pursuing, capturing or otherwise harming them. It also include habitat modification or degradation.
Once in a while, we determine that a project is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. These are called Jeopardy determinations. Usually, we will offer Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives the agency can follow to avoid jeopardy.