The expedited consultation process aims to streamline ESA section 7 consultations for routine, non-controversial actions that pose minimal threats to listed resources. The expedited process can significantly reduce the time for NOAA Fisheries to issue a letter of concurrence for consultation requests that meet the criteria described below:
Expedited Track Criteria: The expedited process depends on the action agency providing NOAA Fisheries with a complete and sufficient request for informal consultation. The request must include the following:
- An adequate description of the proposed action, including mitigation measures.
- An adequate description of the action area.
- Identification of each ESA-listed species and/or designated critical habitat that may be affected by the action along with a reference to the most recent listing/designation notice in the Federal Register and any applicable species recovery plans.
- An adequate discussion of each potential effect on the ESA-listed species and/or essential features of designated critical habitat along with an adequate rationale why the effects would be discountable (extremely unlikely to occur), insignificant (too small to meaningfully measure or detect), or wholly beneficial.
- Certification that the action agency has used the best scientific and commercial data available.
Requests for informal consultation that meet these criteria will be placed on an "expedited track" and NOAA Fisheries will complete consultation using an established template, requiring a fraction of the time to complete consultation. Requests that do not meet the criteria will be returned to the action agency.
We will work closely with action agencies to provide tools to help them prepare consultation requests that qualify for the expedited track.
Submit expedited informal consultation requests in the same way as other ESA section 7 consultations, following the instructions here.