Endangered Species Act (ESA)
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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Humpback whale tails. Photo: Dave Csepp

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) outlines the procedures for Federal interagency cooperation to conserve Federally listed species and designated critical habitat.

Section 7(a)(1) directs the Secretary of Commerce/Secretary of the Interior to review other programs administered by them and utilize such programs to further the purposes of the ESA. It also directs all other Federal agencies to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of the ESA by carrying out programs for the conservation of species listed pursuant to the ESA.

Under section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, Federal agencies must consult with NOAA Fisheries on activities that may affect a listed species. These interagency, or section 7, consultations are designed to assist Federal agencies in fulfilling their duty to ensure any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. In fulfilling these requirements, each agency must use the best scientific and commercial data available.

ESA Regulations - Section 7 and Critical Habitat

  • ESA Fact Sheet - Protecting Marine Resources
  • Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended
  • Section 7 Consultations - Interagency Cooperation
  • Critical Habitat Regulations
    • Code of Federal Regulations: Title 50 - Wildlife and Fisheries
      • Part 226 - Designated Critical Habitat
      • Part 424 - Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat
    • Proposed rule to amend National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulations, which implement the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The proposed amendment replaces the invalidated definition for "destruction or adverse modification" with one that is consistent with the Act and the 9th circuit court opinions. Comment period through July 11, 2014.
    • Proposed rule to amend portions of regulations which implement the Endangered Species Act to clarify procedures for designating and revising critical habitat. Comment period through July 11, 2014.
    • Notice from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service of a draft policy on exclusions from critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. The draft policy is meant to complement the amendments to regulations regarding impact analyses of critical habitat designations and is intended to clarify expectations regarding critical habitat and provide for a credible, predictable, and simplified critical-habitat-exclusion process. Comment period through July 11, 2014.
    • Final rule to revise regulations pertaining to impact analyses conducted for designations of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). Effective October 30, 2013.
    • Proposed rule that announces revisions to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to clarify and update the descriptions of species under NMFS' jurisdiction that are currently listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. Comment period through August 26, 2013.

ESA Species


Petitions for an ESA Listing Action


NOAA Fisheries' Section 7 Biological Opinions



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