Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations
Information related to 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 impact ESA-listed species. These consultations are designed to help federal agencies meet the requirement that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of a species, or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. The outcome of these consultations is a biological opinion. Biological opinions are issued on a wide range of actions.
The intent of a biological opinion is to analyze the effects of a proposed action to ESA-listed species and or designated critical habitat. The biological opinion includes an incidental take statement, if the proposed action affects ESA-listed species to the extent that a listed species may be taken by the action. The incidental take statement contains reasonable and prudent measures to minimize any harmful impacts and terms and conditions specifying how to implement the reasonable and prudent measures. Carrying out the reasonable and prudent measures and their terms and conditions provides federal agencies with an exemption for the “take” of listed species (e.g., harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting). A biological opinion may also include conservation recommendations intended to further the recovery of the ESA-listed species.
Biological Opinions Available Online
Biological opinions are issued by our national Office of Protected Resources, as well as our Regional Offices:
The Environmental Consultation System (ECO) is available to search ESA Section 7 consultations from 2017 to present.
Biological opinions issued since 2010 can also be found in the NOAA library repository.
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.