FWS Biological Evaluation/Assessment Template for Proposed Incidental Take Permits

(adapted from the Consultation Handbook).



Originating Person: The person(s) or unit (field office, refuge, program) and region proposing an action for which the Intra-Service Section 7 Biological Evaluation Form is being prepared ("consulting agency" equivalent).

Date: Date the information on the form was finalized.

I. Pertinent species and habitat.

A. Listed and proposed species and/or their designated and/or proposed critical habitat within the action area:

Note: All experimental populations of listed species are treated as threatened species. However, for the purposes of intra-Service section 7 consultation, they are treated as species proposed for listing if they occur off National Wildlife Refuge or National Park System lands and they are classed as "non-essential" experimental populations.

List all threatened and endangered species and critical habitat that may be affected by the proposed action. An effect exists even if only one individual or habitat segment may be affected. Additionally, list all species and habitats in the action area for which a proposed listing rule (but not a final rule) or proposed critical habitat designation has been published in the Federal Register. Consider both beneficial and adverse effects, regardless of their magnitude.

For each species, include a description of the environmental baseline and species account. This section may begin with a general description of the habitats within the HCP then break down species by species. Incorporate by reference the HCP, NEPA, and other documents.

The action area includes the immediate area where the proposed action will occur, as well as any other areas where direct or indirect impacts of the action may be expected. For example, effects of an action in the headwaters of a stream may affect endangered fish that occur 20 miles downstream.

It is necessary to list all listed and/or proposed species and designated and/or proposed critical habitats in the action area that will not be affected at any level of significance. This informs the reviewer that such species and critical habitat have been considered.

These lists may need to include species that are not covered by the HCP

B. Candidates and other non-listed species within the action area: Service actions shall include consideration of candidate species as though proposed for listing. All adequately covered species are to be listed on the proposed incidental take permit [50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) and 17.32(b)(5)]. Therefore, if the HCP covers other non-listed species, the consultation will consider those species as well.

List all candidate species and covered non-listed species that may be affected by the proposed action. Because listing candidates may be added to, or dropped from, candidate species lists between the typically biannual printings of the Notice of Review, it is necessary to check candidate lists with the appropriate ESO. Include a description of the baseline and species account.

Include in the list of candidate species and covered non-listed species in the action area those that will not be affected by the proposed action.

II. Description of proposed action:

What is the purpose of this proposed action and how do you plan to accomplish it? Describe the project area as well as the project.

Information in the HCP and NEPA documents may be incorporated by reference. However, this section should be fleshed out as much as possible for incorporation into the biological opinion to be written after initiation.

III. Determination of effects

This section is a description of the effects (direct, indirect and cumulative) on the species described above. Again, the HCP and associated documents may be incorporated by reference, but be sure to include sufficient detail for construction of the biological opinion. Identify species that are affected, are not affected, or are not likely to be adversely affected. Do not make a determination of jeopardy in this document. Discuss either the effects of the action on each listed, proposed, or candidate species and critical habitat in the action area, or why those species or critical habitats will not be affected. For species or critical habitats affected by the proposed action, provide the following information: [Note: candidate species will have no proposed critical habitat.] Also discuss the operating conservation program and the beneficial effects to the species.

A. Status of species in action area. Include population and/or distribution trends (provide survey information). Structure this section so that it can be inserted into the "Environmental Baseline" of the BO.

B. Species habitat in the action area. Include its significance to spawning, feeding, migratory habits (or behavior), cover, roost, etc. Is the area currently occupied or unoccupied historic range for the species?

C. Impacts of the proposed action on species. Include direct, indirect, interdependent, interrelated, and cumulative impacts. Also include critical habitat if appropriate.

D. Quantification of effects - acres of habitat, miles of habitat, number of individuals, etc.

E. Summary of effects - include the basis for your conclusion - best judgment, literature, citations, studies, etc.