South Carolina Field Office
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Endangered Species Act Emergency Consultation

Credit: NOAA

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Emergency Consultation Reminders

  • Used when there is a threat to human life and property (e.g., natural disaster, oil spill)
  • Action agency determines whether or not it is an emergency
  • The primary objective of the responding agency must be to protect human life and property and this objective takes precedence over considerations for minimizing adverse effects to listed species under the ESA.
  • The Service needs to be present to provide conservation recommendations, advise on the possibility of jeopardy/adverse modification, and advise about documenting impacts for concluding consultation, formally or informally, after the threat to life and property is under control.
  • Section 7 is always about relationships – all the more important with emergency situations


Great Emergency Consultation Website Resources

ESA Exemptions in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas (section 7(p) of the ESA)

(p) EXEMPTIONS IN PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED DISASTER AREAS.—In any area which has been declared by the President to be a major disaster area under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (aka Stafford Act), the President is authorized to make the determinations required by subsections (g) and (h) of this section for any project for the repair or replacement of a public facility substantially as it existed prior to the disaster under section 405 or 406 of the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, and which the President determines (1) is necessary to prevent the recurrence of such a natural disaster and to reduce the potential loss of human life, and (2) to involve an emergency situation which does not allow the ordinary procedures of this section to be followed. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Committee shall accept the determinations of the President under this subsection.

According to the Stafford Act "public facility” means the following facilities owned by a State or local government: (A) Any flood control, navigation, irrigation, reclamation, public power, sewage treatment and collection, water supply and distribution, watershed development, or airport facility.  (B) Any non-Federal-aid street, road, or highway.  (C) Any other public building, structure, or system, including those used for educational, recreational, or cultural purposes.  (D)  Any park. 

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Last updated: December 12, 2017
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