IPaC is a project planning tool which streamlines the FWS environmental review process
Integrate the environmental review process into your project design
Quickly and easily identify USFWS trust resources and suggested conservation measures for your project.
Initial Project Scoping
See if any threatened or endangered species, critical habitat, migratory birds or other natural resources may be impacted by your project.
Explore the distribution of important biological resources, such as wetlands, National Wildlife Refuges, critical habitat, GAP land cover and more.
Provide information about your project and receive a list of conservation measures suggested by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
This information can be used if you need to start a formal consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use IPaC?
IPaC is available to everyone, whether private citizens or public employees, who need information to assist in determining how their activities may impact sensitive natural resources, and who would like to obtain suggestions for ways to address these impacts. IPaC is also designed to assist the USFWS who is charged with evaluating such impacts.
How does IPaC benefit me?
If you have a project that may affect USFWS trust resources, such as migratory birds, species proposed or listed under the Endangered Species Act, inter-jurisdiction fishes, specific marine mammals, wetlands, and Service National Wildlife Refuge lands, IPaC can help you determine what those impacts are likely to be and provide suggestions for addressing them.
By obtaining this information early in the project development process, project proponents can often more easily incorporate it into their planning, thus saving time and money, and avoiding potential project delays.
Does IPaC offer more, less, or the same information as I would get from a USFWS office?
The information you receive from IPaC is generated by USFWS field offices. The benefit of getting the information directly from IPaC is that the information is available over the internet and available to anyone when they need it rather than when USFWS personnel are available.
Our goal is to help improve the efficiency of project planning, providing information during the earliest planning stages. Subsequent discussions with USFWS staff regarding your specific project (scope, scale, timing, etc.) may result in modifications of IPaC-generated conservation measures or additional recommendations specific to your project.
What is an ‘official species list’ and why would I need one?
Federal agencies are required to "request of the Secretary of Interior information whether any species which is listed or proposed to be listed may be present in the area of a proposed action" ( Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act). If your project requires FWS review under the ESA, you can request an official species list from IPaC’s Regulatory Documents page.
An official species list is an official letter from the local U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office containing information to assist you in evaluating the potential impacts of your project. It includes a list of species and critical habitat that should be considered under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as well as a project tracking number and other pertinent information from the local field office.
I just want a list of species for a given location for informational purposes only. Does IPaC provide that?
IPaC offers a ‘Trust Resource Report’ for those who need a list of endangered species, critical habitat, wildlife refuges, and wetlands for informational purposes only and not for planning or analyzing project-level impacts or complying with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
Projects that are conducted, permitted, or licensed by any Federal agency are required to obtain an ‘official species list’ instead of a Trust Resource Report.
What should be considered when defining a project location?
When designating your project location in IPaC, the USFWS recommends that consideration be given not only to the physical location of project activities, but should include the surrounding area on the landscape where potential effects to species may occur (consider direct and indirect effects). For projects with a federal nexus that are required to consult with the the USFWS under section 7 of the ESA, definitions of Action and Action Area can be found at 50 CFR 402.02.
Is IPaC for section 7 or section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?
IPaC is a tool to assist project proponents in increasing the compatibility of their activities with the conservation of USFWS trust resources. It is meant to assist in the implementation of all activities regardless of whether they will be implemented through sections 7 or 10 of the ESA. Furthermore, the recommendations provided by IPaC will often be helpful even if the project will be implemented outside of the ESA arena.
Do I still need to contact a USFWS office if I use IPaC?
While IPaC provides project proponents with valuable information, in many cases it is still beneficial (and for federal agency actions, it is necessary) to contact USFWS offices directly. For example, while IPaC may provide project design recommendations (i.e., conservation measures) that are likely to reduce the potential impacts of proposed activities, USFWS staff can provide additional and more specific recommendations for your particular project (depending on the scope, scale, timing, etc.).
However, please note that unless otherwise specified, an official species list requested through IPaC is considered to be a USFWS official response (you do not need to contact a USFWS office directly). These automated responses sent to the requester via email may be printed out and kept on hand in the project proponents' administrative record.
Does IPaC include listed species for which National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the lead agency, or must I contact NMFS directly?
IPaC does not include listed species that fall under the sole jurisdiction of NMFS. IPaC does show critical habitat for NMFS species on the Resources page, but critical habitat for those species is not included on the IPaC official species list, which represents official correspondence from the Department of Interior who does not have the authority to speak on behalf of NMFS and the Department of Commerce.
Generally, NMFS is the lead agency for listed marine species (i.e., marine mammals, sea turtles, fish (marine and anadromous) and marine invertebrates and plants), while USFWS manages land and freshwater species, including manatees and sea otters, in addition to sea turtles when they are on land. IPaC includes only those species for which USFWS is the sole lead agency or for which FWS and NMFS share the lead responsibilities. To obtain a list of species in your project area for which NMFS is the sole lead agency, you will need to contact NMFS directly.
How often is IPaC updated?
IPaC is updated on an ongoing basis. USFWS field offices update and improve the information regularly. Through IPaC, USFWS offices ensure access to the most up-to-date information available.
Why am I finding little or no data in IPaC for my project activities or the species on my resource list?
While IPaC data related to project activities and conservation measures is currently available for a select group of species, project-related species data is limited at this time. FWS continues to add species and project information, and the pool of data is expected to grow over time.
We recommend that you check IPaC periodically to see if the information you need is available. To see the latest information, you will need to return to IPaC and start a new project (e.g., redraw your project location). Future plans include the ability to request updated data for an existing project, rather than having to start a new one.
To let us know the species and project activities for which you are hoping to find data or conservation measures, click the 'Contact Us' link at the bottom of each IPaC page and enter the information. We will communicate your request to the local field office.
What does it mean if my IPaC resource list has no species listed on it? Do I still need to coordinate with the USFWS?
In most cases, if IPaC provides a report with no listed species or designated critical habitat found in the proposed project planning area, it is not necessary to contact the local USFWS office regarding listed species issues unless specified otherwise.
However,there are exceptions: (1) if you are aware of unusual circumstances that you believe may change the type or extent of potential effects, you should contact your local USFWS office; (2) there may still be the need to contact the local USFWS office to fulfill the requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. In addition, it is important to recognize that at this time IPaC does not address potential impacts to other federal, state, and local resources that may require coordination with non-USFWS entities.
As a general rule, if in doubt, use the information you receive from IPaC for planning purposes and contact the appropriate local offices to ensure that you have a complete understanding of the information you receive. The IPaC system will provide you with the appropriate USFWS contacts.
What is the "shelf life" of an IPaC species list?
As is the case with species lists obtained directly from local USFWS offices, official species lists obtained from IPaC are valid for 90 days. After 90 days, project proponents should confirm their results on IPaC by requesting an 'updated' official species list for their project in IPaC. There is no standard "shelf life" for conservation measures; these are updated as new information warrants. Again, you may check your results on IPaC as appropriate.
Do I have to implement all the conservation measures on my IPaC report?
Conservation measure reports contain the local USFWS' recommendations for design characteristics that will avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts to USFWS trust resources. The recommendations are meant to assist in project planning. For listed species, conservation measures are based on anticipated impacts to species' conservation. While these recommendations are designed to increase compatibility between species' conservation and proposed projects, there are often multiple ways to achieve such results.
To reduce potential impacts on listed species and the environment, as well as to streamline any future section 7 or section 10 consultations that may be needed, we recommend that you incorporate as many of the conservation measures as possible.
It is important to recognize that while not required, conservation measures have been developed to assist project proponents in meeting their legal requirements as quickly and easily as possible; however, at times there is no substitute for direct communication. Always contact the local USFWS office if you are uncertain about the best course of action. The intent of IPaC is to make natural resource information more accessible to project proponents when you need it, not to eliminate communication between project proponents and local USFWS personnel.
If I implement the conservation measures on my IPaC report, do I still need to consult with USFWS?
The goal of IPaC is to help improve the efficiency of project planning, making information available to you during the earliest stages possible and streamlining your project review process. In most cases, it is still beneficial to contact the local USFWS office, because the IPaC-generated conservation measures may require modification or supplementation specific to your project. When further contact with USFWS is unnecessary, IPaC will specifically indicate such.
If I implement the conservation measures on my IPaC report, can I be certain that this will fulfill all potential design requirements?
Because environmental conditions across the landscape vary widely, it is not possible for the USFWS to ensure that conservation measures delivered via IPaC will encompass the full scope of what is needed. Likewise, there will be times when some of the recommended conservation measures are not necessary.