Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) Fish and Aquatic Species Studies
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires all federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for marine and anadromous species, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for freshwater and wildlife, if they are proposing funding, permitting or regulatory actions that may affect listed species and/or their habitat. For local governments, any project that requires a federal permit or receives federal funding is subject to the mandates of the ESA.
If species listed as rare, threatened, and/or endangered (RTE) may be present, a biological assessment (BA) needs to be conducted to analyze the potential effects of the project on listed species and/or critical habitat areas in order to establish and justify an “effect determination”. The federal agency reviews the BA and, if it concludes that the project may adversely affect a listed species or their habitat, it prepares a "biological opinion." The biological opinion may recommend "reasonable and prudent alternatives" (RPA) to the proposed action to avoid jeopardizing or adversely modifying habitat. These so-called "RPAs" carry great weight with other federal agencies and are often treated as binding requirements.
Kleinschmidt biologists consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Services (NMFS), and state governments regarding potential project impacts to listed species under their jurisdiction. Our team has developed Biological Assessments which summarizes the potential for listed species to occur within a Project Area based on habitat availability and based on extensive searches of state, federal and NGO occurrence databases. Our staff also design and implement field surveys to document usage of the Project Area by listed species.
Our staff frequently assists project owners in the development of Protection, Mitigation and Enhancement (PM&E) Plans for RTE species. These plans are developed cooperatively with the USFWS, NMFS, and other agencies.
A few of the RTE species we have recently assessed include: Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, several listed plants species, Blanding’s turtle, and bog turtle. Specific services include:
• ESA Agency Consultation — State and Federal
• Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Surveys
• Preparation of Biological Assessments
• Development of Restoration Activities
• Development of Habitat Conservation Plans
• Rare Species Habitat Enhancements
• Development of Incidental Take Permits
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