WEDNESDAY, 25 March 2015
Consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act: Programmatic NEPA Reviews
National Association of Environmental Professionals
As a follow-up to the National Association of Environmental Professionals February 2015 webinar on programmatic environmental impact statements (EIS), this webinar will focus on consultation under Section 7 of the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) during preparation of programmatic environmental documents under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Council on Environmental Quality Final Guidance for Effective Use of Programmatic NEPA Reviews (December 2014) specifically recognizes that the purpose and need statement and the proposed action for the programmatic NEPA review are critical for determining the compliance requirements under other applicable laws and regulations, such as ESA. Language was added to the final guidance to emphasize that an agency should consider the appropriate level of compliance with other laws for a programmatic NEPA review, for example, by considering programmatic agreements under the ESA and the potential for a separate, more focused and specific consultation, for any subsequent tiered NEPA document. The webinar panelists will present the basic requirements from the perspective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a technically and procedurally adequate Biological Assessment pursuant to the ESA, the process used by a Federal Lead Agency to determine whether an action is best suited to a programmatic or project-level environmental review; consideration in preparing a Biological Assessment for a programmatic environmental review; and how to successfully tier off a programmatic document once completed. The webinar panel has substantial experience with Section 7 consultations for NEPA programmatic environmental review. Mr. Ray Bransfield, senior biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been an instructor for the Service’s interagency consultation course since 1995. Ms. Amy Fesnok serves a key oversight role in the preparation of Biological Assessments, where the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management is the Federal Lead Agency. Mr. LeRoy Walston has been involved in several programmatic NEPA assessments to evaluate proposed renewable energy programs, the related Section 7 consultation under the Federal ESA, and successfully tiering off the programmatic document.
Marie Campbell, Chair, Education Committee NAEP
Ray Bransfield, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palm Springs Office, Senior Biologist
Amy Fesnok, Bureau of Land Management, California Office, Wildlife and Listed Species Lead
LeRoy Walston, Argonne National Laboratory, Landscape Ecologist
Questions: Contact Ward Marotti (WK Dickson; firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-368-8043) or Kirsten Hunt (Atkins; Kirsten.Hunt@atkinsglobal.com or 919-876-6888)
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