Before requesting review of your project by our office, please review our county list (208 KB PDF) to confirm that your project falls within our area of responsibility and the guidelines regarding when consultation or technical assistance is necessary. If you determine that you need to consult with the Austin Field Office, or require technical assistance, you can assist us in expediting your request by providing specific information about the proposed project and site. Due to staffing constraints, submissions lacking necessary project information will be returned.
The following are a list of frequently asked questions with respect to project reviews. Click on a link below to view additional information about each topic.
Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires Federal agencies to consult with the Service to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, permit, or otherwise carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitats. Federal agencies are not required to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) if a proposed action will have no effect on listed species, or if no species are present in the action area. However, Federal agencies must initiate consultation with the Service if a proposed action may affect one or more listed species. For more information see our Consultations FAQs page or the Service's national consultation web page.
What is technical assistance?
The Service provides review of non-Federal actions that may affect federally listed species or their habitats as technical assistance. Technical assistance helps: avoid or minimize adverse effects to listed species; avoid unintentional violations of the ESA Section 9, which prohibits unauthorized take of listed wildlife; and determine if a Section 10 permit and submission of a Habitat Conservation Plan are needed.
Do You Need to Consult with the Austin Field Office?
Before requesting ESA Section 7 consultation or technical assistance, please:
Determine if federally listed species are likely to occur in the proposed project area by reviewing the list of species by county. To determine which species may be in the county where your project occurs, use our Information, Planning, and Conservation System (IPaC) website at http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac/. If the proposed project is not located in a county with extant, historic, or potential occurence of a federally listed species (i.e., extirpated occurences only, or not on the list) or their designated critical habitat, no further action is required. The Service recommends retaining documentation of your determination in your project files. Please note that, due to staffing constraints, it is is the the Austin Field Office's policy of not providing concurrence with a "no effect" determination. (Note that under the ESA, a species list is valid for only 90 days. New occurrences of listed and candidate species and potentially suitable habitat are discovered periodically. Therefore, the Austin Field Office recommends that you check the IPaC web site at regular intervals during project planning and implementation for updates to species lists and information.)
If the proposed project is located in a county with extant, historic, or potential occurence of a federally listed species, evaluate whether the project's impact area (i.e., the action area) contains potentially suitable habitat for any federally listed species. Remember that the action area under the ESA is not the same as the footprint of the project. The action area includes areas that may be indirectly affected through impacts such as groundwater withdrawals from an aquifer associated with springs and hydrologic changes (surface water diversion) to creeks, rivers, and estuaries supporting listed species downstream of project. Additional considerations may include areas affected by noise, visual disturbance, erosion, sedimentation, chemical exposure, reduced availability or access to food resources, and barriers to movement.
If existing information or field surveys demonstrate that no potentially suitable habitat is located within the project's impact area (i.e., the action area), no further action is required. The Service recommends retaining documentation of your determination in your project files.
If existing information or field surveys demonstrate that potentially suitable habitat is or may be located within the project's impact area (i.e., the action area), submit your assessment and all relevant project information to our office.
Site-Specific Information Needed for Project Review
The name of the project or property, including city, county, and any other identifying information.
The location of the subject property and extent of any project-related activities or discharges clearly delineated on a copy of a U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle (Quad) map with the name of the Quad(s) clearly labeled. Please provide the maps at a scale depicting at least a 1-mile radius surrounding the subject property and any affected areas. For large or linear projects, or batched reviews of multiple sites, please also provide ESRI-compatible GIS files (e.g.,shapefiles with the projection indicated) depicting the project route(s) or area(s), if available.
The name(s) of any Federal agency authorizing, providing funding for, and/or carrying out the proposed project. If the project is non-Federal, please indicate this in your request for technical assistance.
Indication whether American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Federal economic stimulus) funds will be used for the project.
Indication whether any other non-Federal authorizations being sought.
A brief description of the proposed project (e.g., residential, commercial), including proposed utilities, stormwater management, and project plans if available. Include expected start date and duration of project activities.
A description of the natural characteristics of the property and surrounding area (e.g., forested areas, freshwater wetlands, open waters, and soils). Additionally, please include a description of surrounding land use (e.g., residential, agricultural, or commercial) and a description of the area to be impacted by the proposed project, including trees and other vegetative cover types to be removed.
Pictures of the project area along with project plans or a map indicating the orientation of the pictures.
A copy of any surveys or environmental evaluations conducted. Please conduct habitat suitability surveys for any federally listed threatened or endangered species that may occur in the area prior to requesting consultation with our office, and submit a copy of the survey results with your request.
Your assessment of impacts to federally listed threatened and endangered species from proposed project activities, your determination of whether or not federally listed species will be adversely affected and any proposed measures to avoid impacts to federally listed species.
Your contact information including telephone number (with any extension), fascimile number, U.S. mailing address, and electronic mail address.
Where do I submit my request?
Please mail (do not fax or e-mail) the above information along with your request for informal Section 7 consultation or technical assistance to the address listed below. The Austin Field Office understands that all the information requested above may not be available at the time you make your request (e.g., detailed project plans); however, please provide as much information as possible to expedite our review, especially listed species surveys and environmental evaluations.
Austin Ecological Services Field Office
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78758