Definitions from the Endangered Species Consultation Handbook Glossary:
Action area - all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action. [50 CFR Section 402.02]. Further clarification is provided by the the national consultation FAQ, "The action area is defined by regulation as all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action (50 CFR Section 402.02). This analysis is not limited to the "footprint" of the action nor is it limited by the Federal agency's authority. Rather, it is a biological determination of the reach of the proposed action on listed species. Subsequent analyses of the environmental baseline, effects of the action, and levels of incidental take are based upon the action area. The documentation used by a Federal action agency to initiate consultation should contain a description of the action area as defined in the Services' regulations and explained in the Services' consultation handbook. If the Services determine that the action area as defined by the action agency is incorrect, the Services should discuss their rationale with the agency or applicant, as appropriate. Reaching agreement on the description of the action area is desirable but ultimately the Services can only consult when an action area is defined properly under the regulations."
Specific guidance for delineating action areas in New Jersey.
Conference - a process of early interagency cooperation involving informal or formal discussions between a Federal agency and the Services pursuant to section 7(a)(4) of the Act regarding the likely impact of an action on proposed species or proposed critical habitat. Conferences are: (1) required for proposed Federal actions likely to jeopardize proposed species, or destroy or adversely modify proposed critical habitat; (2) designed to help Federal agencies identify and resolve potential conflicts between an action and species conservation early in a project's planning; and (3) designed to develop recommendations to minimize or avoid adverse effects to proposed species or proposed critical habitat.
Conservation measures - are actions to benefit or promote the recovery of listed species that are included by the Federal agency as an integral part of the proposed action. These actions will be taken by the Federal agency or applicant, and serve to minimize or compensate for, project effects on the species under review. These may include actions taken prior to the initiation of consultation, or actions which the Federal agency or applicant have committed to complete in a biological assessment or similar document.
Is likely to adversely affect - the appropriate finding in a biological assessment (or conclusion during informal consultation) if any adverse effect to listed species may occur as a direct or indirect result of the proposed action or its interrelated or interdependent actions, and the effect is not: discountable, insignificant, or beneficial (see definition of "is not likely to adversely affect"). In the event the overall effect of the proposed action is beneficial to the listed species, but is also likely to cause some adverse effects, then the proposed action "is likely to adversely affect" the listed species. If incidental take is anticipated to occur as a result of the proposed action, an "is likely to adversely affect" determination should be made. An "is likely to adversely affect" determination requires the initiation of formal section 7 consultation.
Is not likely to adversely affect - the appropriate conclusion when effects on listed species are expected to be discountable, insignificant, or completely beneficial. Beneficial effects are contemporaneous positive effects without any adverse effects to the species. Insignificant effects relate to the size of the impact and should never reach the scale where take occurs. Discountable effects are those extremely unlikely to occur. Based on best judgment, a person would not: (1) be able to meaningfully measure, detect, or evaluate insignificant effects; or (2) expect discountable effects to occur.
Jeopardize the continued existence of - to engage in an action that reasonably would be expected, directly or indirectly, to reduce appreciably the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a listed species in the wild by reducing the reproduction, numbers, or distribution of that species. [50 CFR Section 402.02]
May affect - the appropriate conclusion when a proposed action may pose any effects on listed species or designated critical habitat. When the Federal agency proposing the action determines that a "may affect" situation exists, then they must either initiate formal consultation or seek written concurrence from the Services that the action "is not likely to adversely affect" [see definition above] listed species.
No effect - the appropriate conclusion when the action agency determines its proposed action will not affect a listed species or designated critical habitat. (Proposed projects in New Jersey can be considered "no effect" if iPac returns a report of "There are no listed species found within the vicinity of your project," so long as the "project location" entered into iPac represents the comprehensive action area, and not just the footprint of disturbance.)
Take - to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct. [ESA Section 3(19)]. Harm is further defined to include significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering. Harass is defined by FWS as actions that create the likelihood of injury to listed species to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. [50 CFR Section 17.3]