Endangered Species Consultation
Under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
See our Species Information page for a list of species consulted on by this office and information on how to get an official species list for consultation.
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. See below.
Formal vs. Informal Consultation
In an informal consultation, the action agency asks us to concur that their project is not likely to adversely affect the species.
The biological opinion, or BO, is our opinion about whether a project is likely to jeopardize a listed species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. When we determine that projects will not jeopardize a species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, they are called non-jeopardy determinations. When we determine that projects will jeopardize a species, they are called a jeopardy determination.
Incidental Take Statement
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 includes habitat modification or degradation.
When possible, we conduct a programmatic consultation that addresses multiple projects. These opinions typically cover small projects. Projects may be appended to the programmatic and go through a streamlined process. One example is the delta smelt programmatic biological opinion with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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. For example, if you were building a dock in the Delta, you could go through the Corps of Engineers programmatic mentioned above.
If non-Federal applicants cannot establish a nexus, they may be able to develop a habitat conservation plan (HCP).