Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Endangered Species Permits

Frequently Asked Questions about Incidental Take Permits


What is "take"?

"Take" is defined in the Endangered Species Act (Act) as "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered species". Harm may include significant habitat modification where it actually kills or injures a listed species through impairment of essential behavior (e.g., nesting or reproduction).

Who needs an Incidental Take Permit?

Anyone who believes that their otherwise-lawful activities will result in the "incidental take" of a federally listed species needs a permit.

How do we know if we have listed species on our project site? Check with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or appropriate State fish and wildlife agency, nearest you. You can arrange for a biologist from one of these agencies to visit your property to determine whether a listed species may be on your project site.

What is the benefit of an Incidental Take Permit to a private landowner? An Incidental Take Permit allows a landowner to legally proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal take of a listed species.

How long does it take to process an application for an Incidental Take Permit? The length of time to complete the permitting process generally depends on the complexity of project (i.e., the number of species, activities to be covered, etc) and the completeness of the documents submitted by the applicant (i.e., HCP). The most variable factor in permit processing requirements is the level of analysis required for the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan under the National Environmental Policy Act, in other words, whether an Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Assessment, or a categorical exclusion is required for the HCP. Other factors such as public controversy can also affect permit processing times.


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Last updated: April 14, 2015