CESFO Biologist Role in Project Evaluations
The Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office offers Fish and Wildlife Service expertise to large-scale planning efforts in the areas of energy, transportation, water supply, development, flood control, power, communication towers, private development, recreation, streambank and shoreline protection.
Biologists assist project proponents, planners, and agency personnel in developing plans that conserve, restore or enhance fish and wildlife while at the same time accomplishing the objectives of the proposed action. Biologists have numerous duties which include: reviewing and providing recommendations on plans and development designs, crafting mitigation plans, providing expertise in wildlife and habitat management, and serving as members of planning teams.
The project planning biologists work directly with other Federal agencies and programs in the state, along with other partners on infrastructure development projects to protect the environment and preserve natural resources in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We accomplish our mission through: working cooperatively with partners early in the planning process to identify ways to simultaneously conserve wildlife while accomplishing project objectives supplying the best possible technical information to ensure fish and wildlife resources and their public benefits are considered working at a landscape level when possible, providing guidance that can be applied broadly over a large area with numerous projects focusing on high priority habitats and projects working cooperatively with other Service biologists and other resource agencies to effectively gather information on species, their habitats, and the potential impacts of human development participating in statewide/metropolitan planning processes or State transportation plans (STPs); identifying and promoting innovative practices that protect natural resources; while streamlining the environmental review process; and promoting partnerships with other Federal, State, and local governments and non-governmental organization to address the efforts above.
Project Planning and Consultation
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act directs all federal agencies to use their existing authorities to conserve endangered and threatened species and, in consultation with the Service, to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Section 7 applies to the management of federal lands as well as federal actions that may affect listed species, such as federal approval of private activities through the issuance of federal funding, permits, licenses, or other actions.
Resources for the elaboration of environmental documents
There are multiple reference materials with valuable information to help you preliminarily determine if there area protected natural resources in your project location that may require special consideration. These maps and inventories are used as reference materials and are not recommended to make determinations on possible project impacts to natural resources. These materials would need to be combined with professional assessments and field investigations.
Coastal Barrier Resources Maps These maps identify undeveloped coastal areas prone to hurricane damage and restricted from federal expenditure. A task force of professionals representing the U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and other offices, developed these maps.
Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands. These maps were developed to be used as a quick reference for the U.S. Coast Guard responses during oil spills events.
Wetlands Mapper (These maps may help you assess if a project includes or is adjacent to wetland areas.)
Suggested contact for Biological Evaluations and Biological Assessments: Marelisa Rivera, Deputy Field Supervisor, 787-851-7297 x 206
Suggested contact for Energy Projects: Rafael González, Fish and Wildlife Biologist