ESA Section 7 Consultation Process and NMFS Listed Species in EPA Region 1 NPDES Planning and Coordination Meeting  EPA, N...
NMFS Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Shortnose sturgeon (SNS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listed as endangered throughout its ra...
Connecticut River Merrimack River Essex Dam  (rkm 46) Holyoke Dam (rkm 140) Turner Falls  Dam  (rkm 198)
NMFS Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Large whales (all endangered)  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>North Atlantic right whales, hum...
Non-Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Other Marine Mammals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All marine mammals (seals, dolphins etc.) a...
ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA states that each Federal agency shall, in consultation with the S...
ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>If a Federal agency determines or is informed by NMFS that listed species and/or critical ha...
ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>When EPA determines a discharge is being permitted that occurs in an area where a listed spe...
ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>Information needed to assess effects of discharge… </li></ul><ul><li>Specific locations of o...
Informal Section 7 Consultation Process not likely to adversely affect :  when direct or indirect effects of the proposed ...
ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>If NMFS concurs with the Federal agency’s “ not likely  to adversely affect” determination, ...
Formal Section 7 Consultation Process Used to determine whether a proposed agency action is likely to jeopardize the conti...
Proposed NPDES Permitted Facilities Likely to Require ESA Section 7 Consultation <ul><li>Any facilities on the Merrimack a...
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NERO ESA Section 7 presentation to EPA

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NERO ESA Section 7 presentation to EPA

  1. 1. ESA Section 7 Consultation Process and NMFS Listed Species in EPA Region 1 NPDES Planning and Coordination Meeting EPA, NMFS, and USFWS April 7, 2008 Julie Crocker and Bill Barnhill – NMFS Protected Resources Division
  2. 2. NMFS Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Shortnose sturgeon (SNS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listed as endangered throughout its range, with 19 populations occurring in rivers along the Atlantic coast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/shortnosesturgeon.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Found in the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers (MA) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Merrimack River - Essex Dam (Lawrence) to mouth, spawn near Haverhill; smallest SNS population in Northeast </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connecticut River - Turner Falls Dam to mouth, limited passage at the Holyoke Dam, upriver segment spawns near Montague, MA, unknown if spawning occurs below Holyoke; approximately 1,200 adults in river </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Sea turtles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loggerhead (threatened) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leatherback, Kemp’s ridley, and Green (endangered) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most common in waters south of Cape Cod; however these species occur in offshore waters of MA and NH from June – November and may also occur in coastal waters (bays, sounds, estuaries, harbors) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/ </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Connecticut River Merrimack River Essex Dam (rkm 46) Holyoke Dam (rkm 140) Turner Falls Dam (rkm 198)
  4. 4. NMFS Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Large whales (all endangered) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>North Atlantic right whales, humpback whales, fin whales primarily in offshore waters but relatively common seasonally in Cape Cod Bay and Massachusetts Bay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large whales rarely enter nearshore waters but are occasionally documented in Bays and Harbors (Boston, Salem, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sperm and sei whales typically in deep, offshore waters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/ </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Non-Listed Species – EPA R1 <ul><li>Other Marine Mammals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All marine mammals (seals, dolphins etc.) are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No consultation requirements for these species </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Atlantic Sturgeon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A status review of this species was recently completed; NMFS is reviewing the status to determine if listing under the ESA is appropriate and considers Atlantic sturgeon to be a “candidate species” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As a candidate species, there is no ESA consultation but NMFS encourages Federal agencies and applicants to take proactive measures to conserve the species and avoid detrimental effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If appropriate, a proposed listing determination could be published by the end of 2008 with a final listing a year later </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the species is proposed for listing, a “conference” would be necessary for actions that may affect the proposed species; once a final listing rule is published, Section 7 consultation is necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/species/atlanticsturgeon_detailed.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA states that each Federal agency shall, in consultation with the Secretary, insure that 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 </li></ul><ul><li>Section 7 consultation must be on a proposed action and cannot (except in emergency situations) occur “after the fact.” As such, consultation must be completed before EPA issues a final permit </li></ul>
  7. 7. ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>If a Federal agency determines or is informed by NMFS that listed species and/or critical habitats are present in the action area of a proposed project, that agency is then responsible for determining whether the proposed action “may affect” those species/habitats and for seeking NMFS’ concurrence with that determination </li></ul><ul><li>“ action area” – all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the proposed action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action </li></ul>
  8. 8. ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>When EPA determines a discharge is being permitted that occurs in an area where a listed species is present, EPA should establish early contact with NMFS regarding the NPDES permit action to facilitate coordination </li></ul><ul><li>Once a draft NPDES permit is completed, EPA should submit all relevant information (e.g., fact sheet, public notice), along with a determination of effects (i.e., not likely to adversely affect or likely to adversely affect) and a request for concurrence, in writing, to the attention of the Section 7 Coordinator, NMFS Northeast Regional Office, Protected Resources Division, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 </li></ul><ul><li>Note : the above step only applies if the permit issuance “may affect” listed species/critical habitats in the area </li></ul>
  9. 9. ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>Information needed to assess effects of discharge… </li></ul><ul><li>Specific locations of outfalls (rkm, address) along with a map when available </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrographic conditions of the waterway and characteristics of the effluent (e.g., flow, dilution factor, temperature, depth, currents/circulation) </li></ul><ul><li>Levels and types of pollutants likely to be discharged (e.g., effluent limits) along with information on whether the limits are consistent with State and/or EPA recommended water quality criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring requirements (daily, weekly, etc.; any WET testing) </li></ul><ul><li>If there is an intake associated with the permit, the potential for impingement/entrainment of relevant life stages </li></ul>
  10. 10. Informal Section 7 Consultation Process not likely to adversely affect : when direct or indirect effects of the proposed project or its interdependent and/or interrelated actions on listed species or critical habitat are expected to be discountable , insignificant , or completely beneficial Interdependent - actions having no independent utility apart from the proposed action Interrelated – actions that are part of a larger action and depend on the larger action for justification Discountable – extremely unlikely to occur Insignificant – generally very small in scale; cannot meaningfully be measured, detected or evaluated
  11. 11. ESA Section 7 Process <ul><li>If NMFS concurs with the Federal agency’s “ not likely to adversely affect” determination, NMFS will reply to the Federal agency in a letter that will convey the concurrence, thus completing Section 7 consultation </li></ul><ul><li>If the Federal agency determines that the project is “ likely to adversely affect” any listed species or critical habitat or if NMFS does not concur with the Federal agency’s “not likely to adversely affect” determination, formal Section 7 consultation, resulting in the issuance of a Biological Opinion, will likely be required </li></ul><ul><li>Any discretionary Federal agency activities likely to result in “incidental take” require formal consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Take – “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or to attempt to engage in any such conduct” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Formal Section 7 Consultation Process Used to determine whether a proposed agency action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species (jeopardy) or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat Jeopardize the continued existence of - “to engage in an action that reasonably would be expected, directly or indirectly, to reduce appreciably both the likelihood of survival and recovery of a listed species by reducing appreciably the reproduction, numbers or distribution of that species” If incidental take is likely, Biological Opinion will include an Incidental Take Statement exempting a certain level of take provided the agency adheres to nondiscretionary Terms and Conditions and Reasonable and Prudent Measures
  13. 13. Proposed NPDES Permitted Facilities Likely to Require ESA Section 7 Consultation <ul><li>Any facilities on the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers within the range of shortnose sturgeon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>may also include facilities on major tributaries near their confluence with these rivers (e.g., Solutia plant) or facilities located above the upstream limit of the species that influence water quality where shortnose sturgeon may be present </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Any facility with outfalls discharging into coastal waters where the action area overlaps with areas where listed whales or sea turtles are likely to be present. This includes Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, and Nantucket Sound </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, EPA should request consultation on any other discretionary action taken that may affect listed species. This could include approving State water quality criteria, TMDLs, etc. </li></ul>

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