Panama City Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

 

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Section 7 Consultations

 

What do I need to include in my consultation/project review request?

The new consultation checklist has your answer!

The Florida Ecological Services field offices developed a short checklist and companion guidance document to assist consultants, permit applicants and action agencies in assembling complete consultation request. These documents are provided for your information and optical use. However, using them can help avoid delays in initiating consultation. The checklist helps you and your staff quickly identify whether all necessary components of a complete request are included. Attaching it to you consultation request is not required, but can be helpful.

OK, package is ready. Where do I submit project review requests?

Federal agencies, private and public landowners, project managers/ planners, and consultants are asked to submit all new project review requests and supporting documentation electronically to panamacityregs@fws.gov. Please do not submit to other email addresses or individual staff as this may result in processing delays due to planned and unplanned absences or other work related issues. Electronic submission need not be submitted in hard copy unless requested by our staff.

NOTE: Emails with attachments are limited to a maximum size of 20 megabytes (20MB). If you have attachments that exceed this threshold, note some on your email submission and then send those attachments on CD or DVD via mail to the Panama City address listed on our contact page. If you chose or need to submit via multiple emails please use the same subject line for each email and note numerical sequence in the subject line such as 1 or 3, 2 or 3, etc.

OK, package submitted. So are you now looking for Your Project's Review Status?

Please allow a minimum of 30-days from date of project submission to our office before inquiring as to your project's review status. This allows time for your project submission to be received, complete intake processing, and staff assignment and initial review. Requests are placed in different process tracks (technical assistance, informal consultations or formal consultations) and generally handled on a first-in, first-out basis within those tracks. However, these timelines assume all information required for us to complete our review/consultation is provided and no additional information is requested. Such requests for additional information, clarification or incomplete submissions can result in the temporary suspension of review timelines. If you have not heard from us after 30-days, for quickest response submit a status request via e-mail to panamacityregs@fws.gov .

Consultation Process Overview

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. To comply with section 7, the consulting Federal agency or its designated non-federal representative must review the proposed project for potential impacts to federally protected species. Informal consultation provides an opportunity for the action agency and the Service to explore ways to modify the action to reduce or remove adverse effects to the species or critical habitat.

This process typically starts with a request for listed species that may be in the action area. Based on its analysis, the Federal agency makes one of three determinations of effect for listed species:

“No effect” is the appropriate conclusion if the proposed action will not affect listed species. If a “no effect” determination is made, the Federal agency is not obligated to contact the Service for concurrence, and informal consultation ends.

“Is not likely to adversely affect” is the appropriate conclusion when effects to listed species are expected to be discountable, insignificant, or completely beneficial. If a “not likely to adversely affect” determination is made, the Federal agency must contact the Service for written concurrence.

“Is likely to adversely affect” is the appropriate conclusion if any adverse effect (including take of an individual) to listed species may occur as a direct or indirect result of the proposed action or its interrelated or interdependent actions. If a determination of “is likely to adversely affect” is made, the Federal agency must initiate formal consultation with the Service.

                     

Formal consultation is a process in which the Service assesses the action’s potential to jeopardize the listed species, to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat, or to result in incidental take of a listed species. Formal consultation concludes when the Service issues a biological opinion. For the purposes of section 7, “action area” means all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the proposed action, not merely the immediate area involved in the action (i.e. project footprint).

Informal consultation concludes when a determination of “no effect” is made, when the Service concurs with a “not likely to adversely affect” determination, or when the action agency initiates formal consultation.

 

 

 

Last updated: March 23, 2019