Alabama Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region


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Alabama Beach Mouse
Habitat Conservation Planning in Alabama Beach Mouse Habitat

Alabama Beach Mouse and sea oats on AL Gulf Coast. Credit: USFWS


The endangered Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates) was listed for Federal protection in 1985 and lives within sand dune, escarpment and interior scrub habitats along Alabama's coastline. Because it is listed as endangered, the mouse is protected from "take."

An incidental take permit is required when non-Federal activities will result in "take" of threatened or endangered wildlife. A habitat conservation plan (HCP) must accompany an application for an incidental take permit. The purpose of the habitat conservation planning process associated with the permit is to ensure there is adequate minimizing and mitigating of the effects of the authorized incidental take. The purpose of the incidental take permit is to authorize the incidental take of a listed species, not to authorize the activities that result in take.

"Take" is defined in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 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).


The permit allows a landowner to legally proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal take of a listed species.

The applicant is in charge of deciding whether to pursue an incidental take permit. While FWS personnel provide detailed guidance and technical assistance throughout the process, the development of a HCP is driven by the applicant. The applicant is responsible for submitting a completed permit application. The necessary components of a completed permit application are a standard application form, a HCP, an Implementation Agreement (if required), and, if appropriate, a draft National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis.

While processing the permit application, the FWS will prepare the incidental take permit, write a biological opinion under Section 7 of the ESA, and finalize NEPA analysis documents. Consequently, incidental take permits require a number of associated documents in addition to the HCP.

For more information:

HCP Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions: Building Permits and the Alabama Beach Mouse

Letter to Applicants (PDF)

Incidental Take Permit Application

Steps for Issuing an Incidental Take Permit




Last updated: May 5, 2021