Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Threatened and Endangered Species - Federal


The federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) prohibits the take of certain listed species by federal, non-federal, and private actions. Actions that are federally funded, permitted, or authorized must consult via the processes outlined in Section 7 of the Act. All other actions must avoid take or seek an Incidental Take Permit in accordance with Section 10 of the Act

Take is broadly defined under the Act, and means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. Under the ESA, harm includes an action that may include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding or sheltering. 

For a brief history and overview of the Act

When to use this subject

You must consider federal threatened and endangered species on all projects. To determine if federal threatened or endangered species occur in the vicinity of a project, you may request a species list using the Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) tool.

On projects where the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead agency.  Contact Office of Environmental Stewardship (OES) for more information. If an FHWA action requires formal consultation, FHWA is the lead agency and you must process all formal correspondence through them. OES will provide FHWA with the necessary information to enter into the formal consultation process.

If an action is receiving state funding but requires a federal permit, or if an action involves federal funding from an agency other than FHWA, that federal agency is the lead federal agency. To ensure all processes are followed correctly, please coordinate with OES.

If an action is receiving state funding, and does not require a federal permit or authorization, please contact OES to ensure the proposed action complies with the Act.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

According to the FHWA “The NEPA and the ESA Section 7 processes interact in the early phases of the environmental analysis of a project. The NEPA drives the evaluation of biological resources in the project area concurrent and interdependent with the ESA Section 7 consultation process. Evaluation of impacts to species federally-listed as endangered is required for all levels of NEPA documentation, and the detail of analysis is potentially the same, dependent on the scope of the project, ecological importance and distribution of the affected species, and intensity of potential impacts of the project….”

Organizations involved