Complying with the Endangered Species Act
The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to conserve threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems. A species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The listing of a species as endangered makes it illegal to "take" (harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to do these things) that species. Similar prohibitions usually extend to threatened species.
Federal agencies may be allowed limited take of species through interagency consultations with NOAA Fisheries. Non-federal individuals, agencies, or organizations may have limited take through special permits with conservation plans. Effects to the listed species must be minimized and in some cases conservation efforts are required to offset the take.
See our listed species. For non-marine species, contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
In order to comply with Endangered Species Act, begin with the following questions. Does your activity involve:
- Construction or other project in a body of water, along the bank of a water body, or that discharges any materials into a body of water where there are listed species?
- Trapping, hauling or collection broodstock of a listed fish?
- If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you may need a consultation or permit. Next consider the following questions:
- Does your project receive any federal funding? Does it require a permit from another federal agency? If so, there is a federal "nexus" and you should contact the federal agency involved regarding a potential Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultation.
- If there is no federal nexus, you still may need a permit or authorization under the Endangered Species act. Visit our permits and authorizations page to learn more.
Learn more about the Endangered Species Act...