ESA Consultations in the Pacific Islands
Federal action agencies or their representatives with information and materials needed to consult with NOAA Fisheries on federal actions affecting ESA-listed marine species in the Pacific Islands region (Hawaiʻi, the Marianas, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island Area).
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out do not jeopardize the existence of any species listed under the ESA, or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat of any listed species. Thus, section 7 requires consultation by the federal ”action agency” (the agency authorizing, funding, or carrying out the action) with the appropriate regulatory agency, either NOAA Fisheries for marine species, or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS) for terrestrial and freshwater species.
Action agencies need to know what ESA-listed species or designated critical habitat occur in their project areas. The Species Lists links below identify the ESA-listed marine species occurring in the Hawaiian Archipelago (including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), the Marianas Archipelago (the Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas), and the Territory of American Samoa. The only designated critical habitat for any of these species in the Pacific Islands region is for the Hawaiian monk seal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale.
The Pacific Islands Regional Office can help and provide information to action agencies to determine if an ESA consultation in the Pacific Islands region is necessary. If consultation is required, action agencies should provide the appropriate documentation from the Pacific Islands region Action Agency Consultation Package include the following:
- Effects Determination Record
- Effects Determination Guidance
- ESA Consultation with NOAA Fisheries Flow Chart
We also provide consultation request templates to assist action agencies in initiation with NOAA Fisheries.
- Consultation Request Cover Letter Template
- Biological Assessments & Biological Evaluations
- Assessment Framework for Conducting Jeopardy Analysis Template
We encourage action agency staff, non-federal representatives, or anybody else who may need to do ESA consultations to contact us before making effects determinations or writing consultation request letters or other documents. We can help provide technical assistance before you begin the official ESA consultation that will make the process more efficient. Please send consultation requests to email@example.com.
For more information about ESA consultations in the Pacific Islands region, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Implementing regulations under the ESA recognizes the necessity to respond immediately to emergencies. The regulations provide for expedited consultation that allows federal agencies to complete their critical missions in a timely manner while still providing the protections afforded to listed species under the ESA.
An emergency is a situation involving “an act of God,” disasters, casualties, national defense or security emergencies, etc., and it includes response activities that must be taken to prevent imminent loss of human life or property. Predictable events, like those covered in Emergency Use Permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency for pesticide applications, usually do not qualify as emergencies under the section 7 regulations unless there is a significant unexpected human health risk.
Emergency actions are required that may affect listed species and/or critical habitats, a federal agency may not have the time for the administrative work required by the consultation regulations under non-emergency conditions. Emergency consultation procedures allow action agencies to incorporate endangered species concerns into their actions during a response to an emergency.
- To provide recommendations for minimizing adverse effects to listed species during the emergency response.
- The responding agency must be to protect human life and property and this objective takes precedence over considerations for minimizing adverse effects to listed species under the ESA.
- The protection of listed species and designated critical habitat that is initiated when it would not interfere with the emergency response to protect human life and property.
Proposed Species and Critical Habitat
Section 7 of the ESA provides a mechanism for identifying and resolving potential conflicts between a proposed action, species, or critical habitat at an early planning stage. A conference is required only when the proposed action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a proposed species or destroy or adversely modify proposed critical habitat. However, federal action agencies may request a conference on any proposed action that may affect proposed species or critical habitat. NOAA Fisheries can also request a conference after reviewing available information suggesting a proposed action is likely to jeopardize proposed species or destroy or adversely modify proposed critical habitat.
For more information about ESA consultations in the Pacific Islands region, please contact us at email@example.com or call us at (808) 725-5140.