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NOAA Fisheries Southeast
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St. Petersburg, Florida
Office: (727) 824-5312


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ESA Section 7: Interagency Consultation

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 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 between the federal “action agency” (the agency authorizing, funding, or carrying out the action) and the appropriate expert agency, either the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for marine species or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for terrestrial and freshwater species.

The purpose of this Web page is to provide federal action agencies or their representatives with information and materials needed to consult with NMFS on federal actions that may affect ESA-listed marine species and their designated critical habitat within the NMFS Southeast Region (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands). 

First, action agencies need to know which ESA-listed species or designated critical habitat occur in their project areas.  A list of “Species and Critical Habitat found in the Southeast Region” is provided in the section below.  

Next, action agencies need to determine if ESA consultation is required.  Consultation is not required if the action agency determines that the proposed project will have “no effect” to listed species or designated critical habitat.  This means that a listed species or designated critical habitat will not be affected (adversely or beneficially), either because it will not be present or because the project does not have any elements with the potential to affect the species or critical habitat.  If listed species or critical habitat may be affected, then consultation is required.  The “Effects Determination Guidance” section below provides more information to help you make this determination. 

To initiate consultation, the action agency should follow the steps outlined in the “How to Submit a Consultation” section below.  Once you have submitted a consultation request, you can track the status of your consultation in our Public Consultation Tracking System.  Additional sections are provided to help with your submission, including guidance for “Emergency Consultations”, “Frequently Requested Biological Opinions,” “Endangered Species Act Policies, Guidance, and Regulations,” and “How to Track your Consultation in PCTS.” 

For additional help, we strongly encourage action agency staff or nonfederal representatives who may need to do ESA consultations to contact us at (727) 824-5312 or e-mail us at  We are happy to provide you with assistance and guidance—before you begin the official ESA consultation process—to make the process easier, quicker, and more efficient.

Instructions on how and where to submit a complete consultation request packet of information.  

Information on how to determine the level of effect your project might have to listed species and/or critical habitat.

Find out which ESA-listed or proposed for listing species and critical habitat are found in your state or region.

Instructions are provided to track consultations on-line.  

An updated list of NMFS-approved, ESO-qualified individuals and ESO-provider companies, as well as information on companies that provide marine mammal observers to industry.

Information about emergency consultations, procedures, and related forms.    

Guidance for Emergency Response Activities in the Southeast United States for Hurricanes - please click here

Copies of biological opinions of significance for fisheries, dredging, and various regulatory actions.   

Helpful guidance documents in reference to Section 7 consultation preparation.  

The Protected Resources Division develops educational signs that provide guidance on how to avoid harmful interactions with protected species.