What is the Expedited Informal Consultation Process?
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 strives to reduce the number of backlogged informal consultations and significantly reduce the time required for NMFS to be able to issue a letter of concurrence for informal consultation requests that meet the criteria described below:
- Expedited Track Criteria: The expedited process depends on the action agency providing NMFS 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 NMFS will complete consultation using an established template, requiring a fraction of the time to complete consultation. Requests that are not adequate will be returned to the action agency.
We will work closely with action agencies over the next several months to provide tools to enable them to prepare adequate letters requesting consultation. Please see our Steps to Develop a Section 7 Request Letter and Technical Guidance webpages for additional information.
Please address all requests for ESA section 7 consultation to our NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources: Jon Kurland at firstname.lastname@example.org.