New Jersey Field Office Procedures for Project Review
Revised October 2016
When does the Service review projects?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reviews proposed projects under certain circumstances, for example when:
- a Federal permit, license or other authorization is required (e.g., an Army Corps permit), Federal funding will be used in project implementation, and/or a Federal agency will carry out the project (pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and/or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act);
- a State freshwater wetland permit is required in a municipality that is known to support federally listed species (pursuant to New Jersey's Memorandum of Agreement with the Service);
- a State freshwater wetland permit is required and will involve Federal review (e.g., wetland fill over 5 acres, channelization of over 500 feet of stream) (pursuant to New Jersey's Memorandum of Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency);
- an applicant/project proponent or authorizing/implementing government agency requests the Service’s input as technical assistance; or
- proposed activities may affect a federally listed species, or may impact other wildlife resources such as a National Wildlife Refuge, bald eagles, other migratory birds or fish, and/or are located in a unit of the Coastal Barrier Resources System.
For more information on the Service's role in project review, see Understanding Land Use Decisions in New Jersey.
Specific to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Service review is REQUIRED under the following two circumstances:
- If a project that involves Federal funding or Federal authorization may affect a federally listed species, then consultation with the Service is required under Section 7 of the ESA. OR
- If a non-Federal project may result in take of a federally listed species, then technical assistance should be requested from the Service to determine if a permit and a Habitat Conservation Plan are required under Section 10 of the ESA.
Although ESA review is not required under other circumstances, we recommend submitting ALL projects for Service review (consultation and/or technical assistance) early in planning if:
- One or more federally listed species - other than bats - may occur in the action area of the project, based on an IPaC report. AND/OR
- One or more federally listed or proposed bat species may occur in the action area of the project, based on an IPaC report and the project involves activity types that may affect bats. AND/OR
- If our general recommendations to protect other wildlife resources cannot be implemented.
What is consultation?
Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires Federal agencies to consult with the Service to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, permit, or otherwise carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitats. Federal agencies ARE NOT required to contact the Service if a proposed action will have no effect on listed species (e.g., if no species are present in the action area). However, Federal agencies ARE REQUIRED to initiate consultation with the Service if a proposed action may affect one or more listed species or designated critical habitat. For more information see the Service's national consultation web page.
What is technical assistance?
The Service provides review of non-Federal actions that may affect federally listed species or their habitats as technical assistance under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Technical assistance helps:
Through our Conservation Planning Assistance program
, the Service also provides technical assistance reviews of proposed actions (both Federal and non-Federal) that are likely to impact wildlife resources other than federally listed species. These other wildlife resources
include migratory fish and birds, wetlands, and National Wildlife Refuges. See Understanding Land Use Decisions
for more information about the Service's role in project planning and review in New Jersey.
Step by Step Instructions for Consultation and Technical Assistance
- Delineate the Action Area of the Project
The action area of a proposed project 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. In New Jersey, the Service recommends that project proponents delineate the action area to include all of the following that may apply on a permanent or temporary basis:
- the entire limits of disturbance, including proposed access routes and temporary work spaces as well as areas of permanent impacts
- at least 1 mile upstream and downstream of activites that may impound stream or river flow
- at least 1 mile downstream of in-stream work
- at least 1 mile downstream of new ground or surface water discharges of any kind (e.g., stormwater, wastewater, cooling water)
- at least 1 mile downstream where sediment-generating activites are proposed within 500 feet of a stream or river
- at least 1 mile downstream where pollutants (e.g., petroleum products, pesticides, herbicides) will be used or stored within 500 feet of a stream or river
- at least 1 mile downstream of new or increased surface water with drawls
- the entire area in which ground water tables may be affected (e.g., draw down, reversal of flow) as a result of a new or increased ground or surface water withdrawls
- all wetlands and waterbodies down-gradient of vegetation clearing
- all wetlands and waterbodies down-gradient of sediment-generating activities
- all wetlands and waterbodies down-gradient of proposed new impervious surface
- all areas likely to experience increased erosion as a result of project activities
- all areas in which project activities will be audible or visible to wildlife, including lighting effects
- all areas which may become inaccessible to wildlife as a result of new or enlarged barriers to movement (e.g. roads, rail lines, dams)
- all areas which may become unsuitable to wildlife as a result of indirect effects of habitat fragmentation (e.g., "edge effects")
- all areas in which wildlife prey resources (e.g., invertebrates) may be indirectly impacted by project activities (e.g., through drift of placed sediments, pesticide overspray)
- all areas subject to new or increased public, recreational, or other human uses -- either legal or illegal -- as a result of new access routes or infrastructure included in the project plans
- all areas affected by reasonably foreseeable future that would not occur without ("but for") the project is currently being proposed
- Obtain a Species List
- Determine if Service Review is Needed
- Submit Project Information
NJFO is now accepting project review requests by email:
Please DO NOT email new requests to individual staff biologists.
Please be sure to follow Steps 1, 2, and 3 on this page before requesting ESA consultation or technical assistance. If you have determined that you need to consult with the NJFO, or require technical assistance, you can assist us in expediting your request by providing specific information about the proposed project and site. Due to staffing constraints, submissions lacking necessary project information will be returned via email.
This optional form/checklist can be used to ensure all required information is submitted.
The name of the project or property, including municipality, county, and Block and Lot number.
The location of the subject property and extent of any project-related activities or discharges clearly delineated on a copy of a U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle (Quad) map with the name of the Quad(s) clearly labeled. Please provide the maps at a scale depicting at least a 1-mile radius surrounding the subject property and any affected areas. For large or linear projects, or batched reviews of multiple sites, please also provide ESRI-compatible GIS files (e.g.,shapefiles with the projection indicated) depicting the project route(s) or area(s), if available.
The name(s) of any Federal agency authorizing, providing funding for, and/or carrying out the proposed project. If the project is non-Federal, please indicate this in your request for technical assistance.
- Indication whether a State Freshwater Wetland permit will be required, and a list of any other non-Federal authorizations being sought.
- A brief description of the proposed project (e.g., residential, commercial), including proposed utilities, stormwater management, and project plans if available. Include expected start date and duration of project activities.
- A description of the natural characteristics of the property and surrounding area (e.g., forested areas, freshwater wetlands, open waters, and soils). Additionally, please include a description of surrounding land use (e.g., residential, agricultural, or commercial) and a description of the area to be impacted by the proposed project, including trees and other vegetative cover types to be removed.
- Pictures of the project area along with project plans or a map indicating the orientation of the pictures.
- A copy of any field surveys or habitat evaluations conducted.
NOTE: Contact the Service before conducting surveys for any federally listed wildlife (animal) species to obtain a list of recognized, qualified surveyors and to request concurrence with a draft survey work plan.
- Indication of which federally listed species may be affected by the proposed activities, based on the IPaC species list report and the Project Screening Chart used under Step 2. Please attach a copy of the dated IPaC report.
- Please DO NOT submit requests to review projects for which IPaC has returned a result of, "There are no listed species found within the vicinity of the project." (See Step 2.)
- Please DO NOT submit requests to review projects for which ALL species given in the IPaC report are "no effect" or "complies with the 4(d) rule" as per the the Project Screening Chart. (See Step 2.)
Please note the following REQUIRED information for bats: For projects where IPaC has returned a result of Indiana bat, please indicate whether or not tree clearing is proposed. If tree clearing is proposed, describe the species, size (diameter at breast height), and number (or acres) of trees proposed for removal; and indicate whether clearing of tress >5 inches in diameter at breast height will be seasonally restricted as follows:
In municipalities with hibernation occurrence: April 1 - November 15.
In municipalities with maternity occurrence: April 1 - September 30.
In municipalities with both hibernation and maternity occurrence: April 1 - November 15.
In areas of potential occurence (i.e., all areas returned by IPaC but not on the bat municipality list): April 1 - September 30.
For projects where IPaC has returned a result of Northern long-eared bat, indicate whether or not the project occurs in a municipality with known hibernacula or maternity roost trees (i.e., listed in red text on the bat municipality list).
For projects involving any Federal funding or Federal authorization that may affect the Northern long-eared bat, the Federal action agency must notify the NJFO at least 30
days before starting the action. Please use the 4(d) Rule Streamlined Consultation Form.
- Proposed conservation measures to avoid impacts to federally listed species. Consider these Best Management Practices that may be applicable to project involving the following species: bog turtle, piping plover, red knot, Indiana bat, dwarf wedgemussel, swamp pink, Knieskern's beaked-rush, and seabeach amaranth.
- Your assessment of impacts to federally listed threatened and endangered species from proposed project activities, and your preliminary determination of whether each federally listed species IS or IS NOT likely to be adversely affected.
- Indication if the Service's recommendations to protect other wildlife resources will be implemented.
- Your contact information including telephone number (with any extension), facsimile number, U.S. mailing address, and electronic mail address.
The NJFO understands that all the information requested above may not be available at the time you make your request (e.g., detailed project plans); however, please provide as much information as possible to expedite our review. Due to staffing constraints, submissions lacking necessary project information will be returned via email.
NJFO is now accepting project review requests by email:
Please DO NOT email new requests to individual staff biologists.
New requests can also be submitted by U.S. mail:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
New Jersey Field Office
Atlantic Professional Park, Unit 4
4 East Jimmie Leeds Road
Galloway, New Jersey 08205
- Coordinate with the Service
The NJFO strives to respond to all requests for informal Section 7 consultation on Federal projects, technical assistance requests for non-Federal projects, and public inquiries, within 30 days after all necessary information is received. Receipt of incomplete information may delay our response substantially.
Our response will have a control number in the upper left corner of the letter; please refer to this number during any subsequent correspondence.
For some projects, a Service biologist may contact you via telephone or email to request a site visit, additional project information, or refinement of the proposed conservation measures.
- Protect Other Wildlife Resources
The Service recommends these best practices to protect other wildlife resources, which are protected by various Federal and State laws.
Please contact the NJFO if you require technical assistance in implementing these recommendations.
- Seasonally restrict tree clearing from March 15 to July 31 to avoid "take" of bird eggs and chicks, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
- Minimize project impacts to Birds of Conservation Concern [PDF] and their habitats.
- For new or replacement power lines, prepare an Avian Protection Plan [PDF] and follow the Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines.
- For proposed communication towers, follow the Service’s tower siting guidelines, and coordinate with the NJFO on structures over 200 feet tall.
- For proposed wind turbines, require consistency with Service's wind turbine guidance [PDF] and coordinate with the NJFO during project review.
- For glass windows in existing buildings and proposed buildings two stories or less, adopt best practices to minimize bird collisions such as glass coverings, minimizing and down-shielding outdoor lights, and careful landscaping. For proposed buildings three stories or taller, coordinate with the Service during project review and follow best practices such as turning off indoor lights and using bird-friendly glass or glass coverings as recommended by the Fatal Light Awareness Program.
- Follow Federal and State regulations to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to wetlands. Note that coordination with the Service may be required under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and/or the 1993 Memorandum of Agreement between the Service and the State of New Jersey.
- Avoid habitat fragmentation and barriers to wildlife movement, such as new roads or dams.
- Avoid the use of polluting materials [e.g. chromated copper arsenate (CCA), ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA), alkaline copper quaternary ammonium (ACQ), wolmanized copper azole (CA-B and CA-C), and acid copper chromate (ACC)] in aquatic environments supporting shellfish habitat.
- Avoid impacts to sensitive wildlife areas such as habitats for State-listed species, vernal habitats, biodiversity priority sites, shellfish beds, and submerged aquatic vegetation.
- Follow the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines [PDF]. New Jersey's Landscape Project (online mapper) provides mapping of eagle habitats.
- Avoid impacts to National Wildlife Refuges.
- Avoid prohibited activities within the Coastal Barrier Resources System.
- Coordinate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding other protected resources. Click here for other agency contact information.