Biological Opinions & Evaluations Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations

Endangered Species Act Consultations

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) whenever a proposed federal action may affect threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.

BOEM consults with NMFS and the USFWS for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) geological and  geophysical activities, leasing, exploration, and development and production activities to ensure that BOEM-authorized actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species, or to result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. 

BOEM prepares a Biological Evaluation on any proposed action which may affect listed species or their designated critical habitat.  NMFS and the USFWS use the Biological Evaluations as the basis for preparing Biological Opinions on the BOEM OCS proposed action. The Biological Opinions identify non-discretionary Reasonable and Prudent Measures and implementing Terms and Conditions to minimize any take incidental to otherwise lawful activities. These Terms and Conditions must be followed by BOEM in authorizing and conducting the proposed action.

In accordance with  the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, BOEM follows an incremental two-step process in ESA consultation. The first step of the process is typically a programmatic consultation on the activities which most likely involve geological and geophysical surveys, leasing, and exploration activities for a specific geographic area and the ESA-protected species and designated critical habitat found there. This step includes consultation on seismic surveys and exploratory drilling. The second consultation step occurs for site-specific development and production in the OCS.

 


ESA CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS:

 

NMFS

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion, Lease Sale 193 Oil and Gas Exploration Activities, Chukchi Sea, Alaska. June 4, 2015.
  • Biological Assessment: Oil and Gas Activities Associated with Lease Sale 193. January 2015.
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion, Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska. April 2, 2013.
  • Biological Evaluation for Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas. Oct. 7, 2011.

USFWS 

  • Letter of Concurrence: Impact of vessel movement on northern sea otter critical habitat, relating to Shell 2015 Exploration Program. May 11, 2015.
  • Biological Assessment: Oil and Gas Activities Associated with Lease Sale 193. January 2015.
  • Biological Opinion for Oil & Gas Activities Associated With Lease Sale 193 for Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dated March 30, 2015.
  • Biological Opinion and Conference Opinion for Oil and Gas Activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), Polar Bear Critical Habitat, Spectacled Eiders (Somateria fischeri), Spectacled Elder Critical Habitat, Steller's Eiders (Polysticta stelleri), Kittlitz's Murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris), and Yellow-billed Loons (Gavia adamsii), May 8, 2012.
  • Biological Evaluation for Oil and Gas Activities on the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Polar Bear and Polar Bear Critical Habitat, Steller’s Eider, Spectacled Eider and Spectacled Eider Critical Habitat, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, and Yellow-billed Loon, September 2011.
  • Final Biological Opinion for Beaufort And Chukchi Sea Program Area Lease Sales and Associated Seismic Surveys And Exploratory Drilling. Sept. 3, 2009.

The following ESA consultation documents are provided for historical purposes only. These ESA consultation documents have been superseded or are outdated. However, these ESA consultation documents were in effect for certain previous BOEM actions.

  • May 8, 2012: Beaufort and Chukchi Sea Program Area Lease Sales and associated Seismic Surveys and Exploratory Drilling. Biological Opinion  
     
  • July 2009: Assessment of the Potential Effects of Oil and Gas Leasing Activities in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri), Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri), Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris), Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii), and Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus). Biological Evaluation
     
  • Sept. 1, 2009: Northstar and Liberty Projects. Amended Biological Opinion
     
  • July 2008: Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska; and Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Biological Opinion
     
  • May 8, 2008: Potential Effects of Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration in the Alaska OCS Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Endangered Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus), Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Supplemental to the 2006 Biological Evaluation
     
  • October 2007: BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., Liberty Development Project. Biological Opinion
  • March, 2007: Chukchi Sea Planning Area, Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 and Associated Seismic Surveys and Exploratory Drilling.  
  • Sept. 2006: Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri), Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) and Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) for Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193. Biological Evaluation
     
  • June 16, 2006: Oil and Gas Leasing, Exploration Activities, in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska, Arctic Regional Biological Opinion (ARBO). Biological Opinion
     
  • March 2006: Steller's Eider (Polysticta steleri), Spectacled Eider (Somateria fisheri), & Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) for Seismic Surveys in the northeast Chukchi Sea and western Beaufort Sea Planning Areas. Biological Evaluation
     
  • March 2006: Potential Effects of Oil & Gas Leasing & Exploration in the Alaska OCS Beaufort Sea & Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Endangered Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus), Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).
    • Biological Evaluation of the Potential Effects of Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration in the Alaska OCS Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Endangered Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus), Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
    • Biological Opinion - Section 7 Consultation for Proposed Beaufort Sea Natural Gas and Oil Lease Sale 186, Oct. 22, 2002  
    • Biological Opinion - Section 7 Consultation, for Oil and Gas Lease Sale 149, Cook Inlet, Alaska, 1995