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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.
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Section 7 Consultation Technical Assistance
Step-by-Step Instructions - Step 4
In Step 3, you determined that the proposed action or other activities that are caused by the proposed action may affect a species or critical habitat. The next step is to describe the manner in which they will respond or be altered. Specifically, to assess whether the species/critical habitat is "not likely to be adversely affected" or "likely to be adversely affected." Consider the following in making your finding:
A. When you are basing your determination on effects to the species' habitat or other resources rather than to the species itself, conduct a two-part assessment:
(1) determine how the habitat or the resource will respond to the proposed action (for example, changes in habitat quality, quantity, availability or distribution), and
(2) assess how the species is expected to respond to the effects to its habitat or other resources.
C. A proposed action warrants a "may affect, not likely to be adversely affect" finding when its effects – and the effects of other activities that are caused by the proposed action – are wholly beneficial, insignificant or discountable.
- If there will be only beneficial effects, conclude "may affect, not likely to adversely affect" and submit your finding and supporting rationale to the appropriate ES Field Office and request concurrence.
- If all effects of the action are expected to be insignificant, conclude "may affect, not likely to adversely affect" and submit your finding and supporting rationale to the appropriate ES Field Office and request concurrence.
- If all effects of the action are expected to be discountable, then conclude "may affect, not likely to adversely affect" and submit your finding and supporting rationale to the appropriate ES Field Office and request concurrence.
You may submit your request electronically to the ES Field Office for your project area. For your assistance, an example letter and template are provided.
A written request for concurrence with a not likely to adversely affect determination shall include information similar to the types of information described for formal consultation at §402.14(c)(1) sufficient for the Service to determine if it concurs.
D. If you cannot conclude that the effects of the action will be wholly beneficial, insignificant, or discountable, check the Species-Specific Section 7 Guidance and Conservation Measures to determine whether there any measures that may be implemented to avoid or minimize the negative effects. See also any species guidelines made available through IPaC (see Step 3).
- If you modify your proposed action to include conservation measures, assess how inclusion of those measures will likely change the effects of the action.
- Conservation measures may, for example, alter or eliminate the exposure of species or critical habitat PBFs to stressors or they may modify how the species or PBFs are likely to respond to such exposure. Repeat Step 3 and document your conclusion, as appropriate. Be sure to identify the specific conservation measures you intend to incorporate and their associated biological consequences.