The action area (see simplified depiction to right of page) is defined as “all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action” (50CFR§402.02). This includes the project’s footprint as well as the area beyond it that may experience direct or indirect effects that would not occur but for the action. For more information on how to determine the scope of the action area, please consult the definition of “effects of the action” (50 CFR §402.02).
Looking for additional guidance to construct your Biological Assessment? Check out these FWS resources (e.g., Interagency Cooperation for Endangered Species course)! Note: there are subtle differences in the way NOAA Fisheries and FWS approach ESA Section 7 Consultation (E.g., ESA-listed species and critical habitat under NOAA Fisheries jurisdiction are NOT included in iPaC (GARFO has the Section 7 Mapper)).
For additional help, we strongly encourage action agency staff or non-federal representatives who may need to do ESA consultations to contact us. Please send questions, consultation initiation and concurrence requests to:
Right whale #3853 swimming north offshore of South Carolina on Jan. 20, 2011 with a series of fresh propeller wounds running across its back. The whale was observed 5 days previously offshore of Georgia without propeller wounds. It is unknown whether the whale survived its wounds or not, as it has not been re-sighted since. Vessel collisions are a leading cause of right whale mortality. Credit: EcoHealth Alliance (NOAA permit #594-1759).
North Atlantic right whale Catalog #3560 ‘Snow Cone’ sighted December 2, 2021 entangled and with a new calf. Photo credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission taken under NOAA permit 20556.