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A massive hurricane threatens Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Information icon Hurricane Irma mid-day on September 6, 2017 off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Satellite Image by NOAA GOES-16.

Emergency consultation

Occasionally, federal agencies must respond to emergency situations where human life and property are in danger. Examples include oil spills, wildland fire, and weather events such as Hurricane Michael, Irma, and Maria. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its implementing regulations recognize the need to respond immediately to emergencies and provide special procedures that allow federal agencies the latitude to complete their emergency responses in order to secure human life and property without delay, while still providing them with protections that normal compliance under the ESA would have afforded them.

It is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s policy to assist federal agencies with their ESA compliance issues during an emergency response, but to never delay the necessary response to secure human life and property.

Understanding emergency provisions under the ESA

The links below are provided to assist you in understanding emergency provisions under the ESA, to provide access to pre-existing policies and guidance for emergency responses, and to illustrate typical emergency responses that the Southeast Region has provided in the past:


Hurricane response

A man removing a wooden shutter from a home.
Roberto Trincado removing hurricane shutters on St. Croix, USVI. Photo by USFWS.

Fire response

A firefighter walks through the underbrush with his eye on the fire.
Firefighter in the brush at Okefenokee NWR fighting the West Mims fire. Photo by Mark Davis, USFWS.

Oil spills and other hazardous materials


In general, we encourage agencies and the public to contact the field office in the State where their project is located. A list of State offices and their contact information can be found online If your project is in a marine environment, please contact the National Marine Fisheries Service.

For anything else including general questions, consultation on multi-state projects, or if you simply need additional information, please contact the Southeast Region’s Division of Environmental Review.

Christine Willis, Regional Energy Coordinator, (404) 679-7310

Dr. Heath Rauschenberger, Regional Consultation Coordinator, 904-731-3203)

Rob Tawes, Chief, Division Supervisor, Environmental Review, (404) 679-7142

Contact Us:

Looking for a media contact? Reach out to a regional spokesperson.

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