Midwest Region Endangered Species Conserving the nature of America


Endangered Species Program


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species program is conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems.




U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service in the Midwest


The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.


The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Find a location near you »

Section 7 Consultation Technical Assistance

Step-by-Step Instructions - Step 2


Step 2. Determine whether a listed or proposed species or designated or proposed critical habitat may be present within the action area.


A. Define the action area for your project.

B. Enter the action area location into IPaC and review the resulting Resources list (Fig. 1). The Endangered Species part of the IPaC Resources list will include endangered species, threatened species, species proposed for listing, candidate species, and critical habitats.

Figure 1. Part of a Resources list generated in IPaC. When in IPaC, click on Endangered Species on the left to see a list of endangered, threatened, and proposed species that may be present in the action area and any designated or proposed critical habitat that overlaps with the action area.


  • If there are no species or critical habitats on the Endangered Species portion of the Resources list:

      • conclude "no species and no critical habitat present" and document your finding. No consultation under ESA section 7(a)(2) is required if the action would result in no effects to listed species or critical habitat.
  • If any species or critical habitats are on the Resources list, continue to C.


C. If your project is any of the following:

  • a HUD project,
  • a pipeline project,
  • a buried utilities project,
  • a telecommunication project, or
  • a request for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) from FEMA,


Follow this link for further instructions.


Follow the link above also for any project that is likely to affect only areas that are already paved; cultivated cropland; covered by structures or lawns; or, mowed too frequently to develop natural or semi-natural characteristics. 


Weigh carefully any potential impacts to surface or groundwater that could have consequences for species or critical habitats even if project activities take place only in developed, cultivated, etc. areas.

D. Review Species Guidelines attached to the Resources list, if any (Fig. 2), and/or review species information pages and other information sources.  

Figure 2.  Species Guidelines – General Project Design Guidelines, Habitat Assessment Guidelines, and Species Survey Guidelines – are available by clicking on the link indicated.  If the link does not appear with a Resources list, the field office has not uploaded any guidelines for the species on the Resources list.


Cross-reference the species information with your knowledge of the action area, including the results of surveys.  Review Table 1 and Figure 3 to determine the next step for each species and critical habitat. 


Note that for some species or projects, IPaC will present you with Determination Keys.  You may be able to use one or more Determination Keys to conclude consultation on your action.


Five-year reviews and other information available on USFWS Species Profile pages may also help you to evaluate potential effects and to develop appropriate avoidance and minimization measures.  To access Species Profiles, click here and enter the species name in the “Search for a Listed species by name” search box.

Table 1. General guidelines for evaluating whether species on the IPaC Endangered Species list may be present in an action area. If species-specific survey guidelines are available, follow those guidelines to carry out surveys and to interpret results, as appropriate.  

Is the Species’ Habitat Present in the Action Area?

Species Survey Result


Next Step



Survey not warranted

Species not present in action area

Consultation not required

Consider the potential for the species’ habitat to become established in the action area before effects of the action have ended.


Survey(s) for species in the action area are negative

Species not present in action area1

Consultation not required

1Plan and implement surveys and interpret results in coordination with USFWS and/or in accordance with USFWS-recommended survey protocols.


Survey data unavailable or inconclusive for action area

Assume species is present in the action area.

Proceed to Step 3


Survey(s) for species in the action area are positive

Species is present





Figure 3. Steps to determine whether consultation is required due to effects to critical habitat. If not, consultation would still be required if any listed species may be affected. If the action may affect any proposed species or proposed critical habitat, a section 7 conference may be necessary.


Previous - Next (Step 3)




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