Section 7: Take Reporting & Programmatics in the Greater Atlantic Region
Information regarding the Greater Atlantic Region's Section 7 Programmatics and take reporting for biological opinions.
Biological Opinion - Take Reporting
Federal Action Agencies that authorize, fund, or carry out actions covered under a GARFO-issued Biological Opinion are required to report all incidental takes of ESA-listed species that occur during the scope of the project, per the Opinion’s non-discretionary Terms and Conditions. If an incidental take of an ESA-listed species occurs, the Action Agency should follow the standard operating procedures below, complete the Take Report Form immediately following the event (one per individual animal taken), and submit it electronically to email@example.com. If an incidental take of an ESA-listed species occurs during a Federal dredging, nourishment, or construction activity not currently covered under a GARFO-issued Biological Opinion, the Federal action agency may also use the form below to report it to us.
This guidance currently applies to all Biological Opinions in the Greater Atlantic Region (Maine through Virginia) that involve the following activities: pile driving, bridge/road construction, dredging, beach nourishment, vessel operations (e.g., work barges and tugs), and relocation trawling. If your Biological Opinion does not encompass the activities listed above, please follow the take reporting guidance listed in your Opinion’s Terms and Conditions until otherwise notified by a GARFO PRD Section 7 biologist.
Please submit completed take report forms, together with any supporting photos or videos, to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Take Report Form" in the subject line. Also, email any completed genetics sampling, observer, and relocation trawling forms only IF it is required in your Biological Opinion.
- Sturgeon & Sea Turtle Take Standard Operating Procedure (PDF, 2 pages)
- Take Report Form for ESA-Listed Species - Updated 8/9/2019 (PDF, 5 pages)
- Sea Turtle & Sturgeon Species ID Key (PDF, 3 pages)
- Sea Turtle Handling & Resuscitation Measures (PDF, 3 pages)
- Sea Turtle Handling Handling and Transfer Instructions for Dredging Operations (PDF, 1 page)
- Sturgeon Resuscitation Guidelines (PDF, 2 pages)
Sturgeon Genetics Sampling
- Procedure for Obtaining Sturgeon Fin Clips - Updated June 2019 (PDF, 2 pages)
- Sturgeon Genetic Sample Submission Form (Zip folder - Excel, 1 page)
- Dredge Observer Form (PDF, 1 page)
- Monitoring Specifications for Hopper & Mechanical Dredges (PDF, 6 pages)
- Sea Turtle Trawling & Relocation Guidelines (PDF, 4 pages)
- Sea Turtle & Sturgeon Relocation Trawling Report Form (PDF, 2 pages)
Protected Species Observers
Protected Species Observers are trained professionals who provide independent protected species monitoring and mitigation services to help a wide range of industries meet their regulatory compliance needs, including supporting take reporting associated with the non-discretionary terms and conditions of biological opinions. In the New England/Mid-Atlantic area we review the qualifications of Protected Species Observers to make sure they have the expertise to support specific project work.
GARFO (PRD) - USACE (NAD) NLAA Program
The GARFO (PRD)-USACE (NAD) 2017 NLAA Program (“NLAA Program”) represents an interagency effort to streamline ESA consultation for routine, non-controversial projects that are not likely to adversely affect (NLAA) ESA-listed species or critical habitat. The NLAA Program does not address whether or not certain activity categories or stressor levels will have no effect on listed species or critical habitat (this remains under the discretion of individual NAD Districts). Under the NLAA Program, individual projects are reviewed using a streamlined verification form to demonstrate that the project falls within defined activity categories and stressor thresholds. Those which are ineligible require individual section 7 consultation (informal or formal, depending on whether or not the proposed work will likely adversely affect listed species or critical habitat).
(Please submit signed verification forms, together with any project plans, maps, supporting analyses, etc., to email@example.com with "USACE NLAA Program: [Application Number]” in the subject line)
- Verification Form - Updated September 21, 2020 (PDF, 11 pages)
- Example NLAA Project Using the Verification Form - Dredging & Pile Driving (PDF, 11 pages)
- Example NLAA Project Using the Verification Form - Aquaculture (PDF, 11 pages)
- Programmatic Consultation (PDF, 42 pages)
- Biological Assessment (PDF, 12 pages)
GARFO and FHWA developed several documents to streamline section 7 consultations for transportation projects. The Consultation Process Guide and Best Management Practices Manual are applicable for all transportation projects occurring in the Greater Atlantic Region. The FHWA GARFO 2018 NLAA Program is an interagency effort to streamline ESA consultation for a subset of transportation projects that are not likely to adversely affect (NLAA) ESA-listed species or critical habitat. The purpose of the FHWA GARFO 2018 NLAA Program is to determine which activity categories and associated stressor thresholds provide a project’s eligibility for processing under the streamlined Verification Form. Those which are ineligible require individual section 7 consultation (informal or formal, depending on whether the proposed work will likely adversely affect listed species or habitat).
Please submit FHWA GARFO 2018 NLAA Program Verification Forms, together with any project plans, maps, supporting analyses, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org with "FHWA GARFO 2018 NLAA Program" in the subject line.
- Fillable Verification Form - Please download, sign, and submit electronically (Updated 3/27/2020; PDF, 9 pages)
- Standard Operating Procedures (PDF, 5 pages)
- Programmatic Consultation (PDF, 43 pages)
- Program Criteria (PDF, 25 pages)
- Consultation Process Guide (PDF, 45 pages)
- Best Management Practices Manual (PDF, 77 pages) and BMP Spreadsheet (PDF, 22 pages)
June 2018 Webinar - NMFS/FHWA ESA s7 and EFH Programmatic Consultations
PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 34 pages)
Essential Fish Habitat
Our Habitat Conservation Division has also developed programmatic EFH consultations to streamline their consultation process while maintaining and improving the protection of fish habitat.