Find biological opinions detailing how federal agencies’ actions may affect ESA-listed species and critical habitat.
Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies must consult with NOAA Fisheries on activities that may affect ESA-listed species. These inter-agency consultations are designed to help federal agencies in fulfilling their duty to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of a species, or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.
Where appropriate, biological opinions provide an exemption for the “take” of listed species (e.g., harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting) while specifying the extent of take allowed, the reasonable and prudent measures that would minimize impacts from the federal action, and the terms and conditions with which the federal action agency must comply.
Biological opinions are issued on a wide range of actions including federal fisheries, offshore oil and gas leasing and exploration activities, seismic surveys, dredging, offshore wind, and hydroelectric activities, among others.
Biological Opinions Available Online
Biological opinions are issued by our national Office of Protected Resources, as well as our Regional Offices:
Biological opinions issued since 2010 can also be found in the NOAA library repository.
In addition, the Environmental Consultation System (ECO) is available to search ESA Section 7 consultations from 2017 to present.
If you are looking for a biological opinion from an ESA Section 7 consultation completed before 2019 that is not available in ECO, you may send an email with specific details on your request to NMFS.Historic.Consultations@noaa.gov.