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Section 7 Consultation Technical Assistance

Step-by-Step Instructions - Step 3


Step 3. Determine whether the proposed action may affect listed or proposed species or designated or proposed critical habitat.


In step 2, you defined your action area and concluded that a listed resource "may be present." In this step, you will determine whether your project "may affect" species or critical habitat. There are two possible determinations in this step: "no effect" or "may affect."


To assist with making this determination, we suggest the following:


A. Describe the proposed action. In your description, identify the timing, location, and when applicable, the frequency and intensity, of the proposed action.


B. Determine whether listed resources will be exposed to the proposed action or to any of the environmental changes that are likely to occur. You should assess the potential for the action to affect any life stage of the species.

  • If species or critical habitat will not be exposed directly or indirectly to the proposed action or any resulting environmental changes, conclude "no effect" and document your finding. No further consultation required. For your convenience, we provide an example of a "no effect" document for your use.
  • If species or critical habitat may be exposed, continue.

C. Determine if those species or critical habitat exposed will respond upon exposure. Review the pertinent species information page and review other relevant sources of information (e.g., conduct a literature search for the specific stressor or environmental change to which the species will be exposed).

  • If the best available data indicate that the species and critical habitat will not respond in any manner, conclude "no effect" and document your finding. No further consultation required. For your use, an example of a "no effect" document is provided.
  • If data indicate the species and habitat may respond upon exposure, or if data are equivocal or lacking to justify a determination of "no effect", conclude "may affect" and proceed to Step 3.
    • If surveys are lacking, it may be appropriate to conduct surveys to determine whether listed species are present. Please contact the Ecological Services Field Office nearest the project for more information.  

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Last updated: February 6, 2019