Unsupported Browser Detected

Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Formal Consultation

If consultation cannot be concluded informally because adverse effects to listed species are expected, the action agency must request formal consultation. To initiate formal consultation, the action agency must provide information specified in 50 CFR 402.14(c) and (d); this includes:

  1. A description of the proposed action, including any measures intended to avoid, minimize, or offset effects of the action. Consistent with the nature and scope of the proposed action, the description shall provide sufficient detail to assess the effects of the action on listed species and critical habitat, including:
    • The purpose of the action;
    • The duration and timing of the action;
    • The location of the action;
    • The specific components of the action and how they will be carried out;
    • Maps, drawings, blueprints, or similar schematics of the action; and
    • Any other available information related to the nature and scope of the proposed action relevant to its effects on listed species or designated critical habitat.
  2. A map or description of all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action, and not merely the immediate area involved in the action (i.e., the action area as defined at §402.02).
  3. Information obtained by or in the possession of the Federal agency and any applicant on the listed species and designated critical habitat in the action area, including available information such as the presence, abundance, density, or periodic occurrence of listed species and the condition and location of the species’ habitat, including any critical habitat.
  4. A description of the effects of the action and an analysis of any cumulative effects.
  5. Any other relevant available information on the effects of the proposed action on listed species or designated critical habitat, including any relevant reports such as environmental impact statements and environmental assessments

This information should be submitted to us along with a letter making a “likely to adversely affect” determination, that requests formal consultation. Your consultation request will be assigned to a section 7 biologist and the assigned biologist will review your request for consultation and contact you by phone or email if more information is needed. Once all the necessary information is received, we will send you a letter stating that we have all the information necessary to initiate formal consultation. The biologist will then draft a Biological Opinion, including an Incidental Take Statement (as appropriate). The ESA section 7 regulations require us to provide a final Biological Opinion to you within 135 days of consultation initiation. The date of initiation is calculated from when we receive ALL the necessary information to complete formal consultation (e.g., all project specifics included, action area correctly defined, all stressors have been adequately addressed, all effects analyzed, etc.). This timeline can be extended if both agencies agree more time is needed. If a third party is proposing the action as an applicant, the third party must also agree to an extension. Please note that special procedures are required for “major construction” projects, including the preparation of a Biological Assessment (see 50 CFR 402.12, or Contact Us for more information).

Examples of Current Biological Opinions

Additional Technical Guidance