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Section 7 Consultations in the Greater Atlantic Region

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act outlines the procedures for federal interagency cooperation to conserve federally listed species and designated critical habitat.

Endangered Species Act Listed Species

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act

The information contained below will provide federal action agencies, or their representatives, with information and materials needed to consult with NOAA Fisheries on federal actions that may affect ESA-listed marine species and their designated critical habitat within the NOAA Fisheries New England/Mid-Atlantic Region.

Learn more about consultations with federal agencies

Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations in the Greater Atlantic Region Fact Sheet (PDF, 2 pages)

Section 7(a)(1) directs the Secretary of Commerce/Secretary of the Interior to review other programs administered by them and utilize such programs to further the purposes of the Endangered Species Act. It also directs all other federal agencies to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of the Act by carrying out programs for the conservation of species listed pursuant to the Act.

Under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, federal agencies must consult with NOAA Fisheries on activities that may affect a listed species. These interagency, or section 7, consultations are designed to assist federal agencies in fulfilling their duty to ensure any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. In fulfilling these requirements, each agency must use the best scientific and commercial data available.

Learn more about the Endangered Species Act

Learn more about Designated Critical Habitat

Requesting Consultation

Section 7 Consultation Process

Federal Action Diagram.JPG

We developed, in coordination with our federal action agency counterparts, a process where the action agency conducts the effects analyses and evaluates if they need to request formal consultation or not. To support action agencies, we updated our website to provide clear guidance on how to analyze effects and reach correct effect determinations, tools to conduct an effects analysis, and resources and templates for writing adequate letters requesting concurrence when an action agency concludes that a project is Not Likely to Adversely Affect listed species. 

Learn more about the different types of consultations

Learn how to make a No Effect Determination

We continue to revise our website to provide ready access to tools and consultation guidance. Please check our website frequently as we update regularly.

Species/Critical Habitat Information and Maps

To see which ESA-listed species and critical habitat occur in your project area, please see our Species/Critical Habitat Information and Maps.

Technical Guidance

For effects analysis guidance, a template consultation request letter, and examples of successful letters, see Technical Guidance.

Biological Opinions

For a full list of our completed biological opinions, see Biological Opinions.

Programmatics/Reporting Take

To make the interagency consultation process more efficient, we have engaged with action agencies in programmatic approaches to consultations where possible. For more information on the the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Highway Administration programmatics, see Take Reporting & Programmatics.

If a take has occurred during your project, see Take Reporting & Programmatics for the next steps.

Submit a Consultation Request

We encourage action agencies to electronically submit their requests. Please note that we can only accept emails with attachments no bigger than 25Mb. To get around this, you can send the attachments over multiple emails, use a zip file/folder, or use a file sharing program/link. 

Once an adequate effects analysis is provided and the action agency’s determination is supported by the best available scientific and commercial data and information, we will immediately continue the process of completing the consultation by writing a letter of concurrence (for informal consultations) or a biological opinion (for formal consultations)

Success of this program continues to depend upon the action agency providing us with an adequate effects analysis and request letter (biological assessment). Requests that are not adequate will be returned to the action agency.

View completed consultations in our Environmental Consultation Organizer (ECO) system

Request an ECO Account

Contact Us

For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions

For additional help, we strongly encourage action agency staff or non-federal representatives who may need to do ESA consultations to contact us:

     Phone: (978) 281-9328

     Email: nmfs.gar.esa.section7@noaa.gov

We are happy to provide the action agencies with technical assistance and guidance—before you begin the official ESA consultation process—to make the process easier, quicker, and more efficient.

To contact the Section 7 biologist for your area, see Contact Us.

Learn more about the New England/Mid-Atlantic Region