Frequently asked questions
- If I implement the conservation measures on my IPaC report, can I be certain that this will fulfill all potential design requirements?
- IPaC doesn't have my project type - does that mean that there are no conservation measures available to help me design my project?
- What do I do if the Continue button in the Initial Project Scoping section on the "Define your project location" page is not activated so I cannot select it, even though I've defined my project location?
What does the acronym IPaC stand for?IPaC stands for Information, Planning, and Conservation. The IPaC system is designed for easy, public access to the natural resources Information for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has trust or regulatory responsibility. Examples include Threatened and Endangered species, migratory birds, National Refuge lands, Coastal Barrier Resource Units, and the management of invasive species. One of the primary goals of the IPaC system is to provide this information in a manner that assists people in Planning their activities within the context of natural resource Conservation. The IPaC system also assists people through the various regulatory consultation, permitting and approval processes administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, helping achieve more effective and efficient results for both the project proponents and natural resources. Hence the name, Information, Planning, and Conservation (IPaC) system.
Who can use IPaC?The IPaC system is designed to be used by all people, 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 those who are charged with evaluating such impacts.
Why should I use IPaC?If you have a project that will affect the environment, IPaC can help you determine what those impacts are likely to be and provide suggestions for addressing them. By having this information available as early in the project development process as possible, often it can be more easily incorporated into the planning process, saving time, money, and frustration.
Does IPaC offer more, less, or the same information as a USFWS office?The information offered by IPaC is actually generated by USFWS offices, however, it is available to project proponents when they need it rather than when USFWS personnel are available. This should improve the efficiency of project planning, as project proponents will have the information they need available to them during the earliest stages of project planning.
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. Indeed, 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 will provide project proponents with valuable information, in many cases it will still be necessary to contact USFWS offices directly. For example, while IPaC may provide project design recommendations (i.e., conservation measures) that are likely to lessen the potential impacts of proposed activities, in most cases it will still be necessary to contact the USFWS to complete section 7 consultation or to obtain any needed section 10 permits. On the other hand, unless otherwise specified, species lists are obtained from IPaC are considered to be the USFWS' official responses. As directed by IPaC, these responses may be printed out and kept on hand in the project proponents' administrative record. The need to contact USFWS offices directly is anticipated to decline as the IPaC system is developed in future phases.
How long has IPaC been around?While the USFWS has been developing the concept the IPaC since the mid-1990's, system develop began in earnest in 2006. The early phases of IPaC began coming on-line in limited areas during the later part of 2007.
How often is IPaC updated?IPaC is a dynamic system that is updated as additional information that will improve its performance becomes available. In this manner USFWS offices can ensure that project proponents have access to the most up-to-date information available.
What does it mean if I get no "hits" on IPaC? Do I still need to coordinate with the USFWS?In most cases if the IPaC system responds that no listed-species or designated critical habitat are 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 two factors to be aware of: (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. For example, you may be proposing a project that will result in sedimentation being deposited in a moving water body that will carry effects many miles from the project-site. While in many cases this potential will be accounted for, unless otherwise specified, it would be recommended that you contact the local USFWS office to confirm these results; (2) there may still be the need to contact the local USFWS office to fulfill the requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. For example, your proposed project may have anticipated impacts to wetland habitats or migratory birds. Future phases of IPaC will address such impacts. 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-of-thumb, if in doubt, use the information you receive from the IPaC system 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 my IPaC report?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 this time-period project proponents should confirm their results on IPaC as needed. There is no standard "shelf life" for conservation measures; these will be 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, and/or mitigate potential impacts to USFWS trust resources. These recommendations are offered 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. When developing conservation measures the USFWS has worked with various project proponents in an attempt to ensure recommendations will likely be compatible with the needs of the typical project. 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 as many of the conservation measures as possible be incorporated. However, if there are conservation measures that for some reason are not practical, we recommend several options. First, check on IPaC to determine if there are alternate conservation measures. At times the local USFWS office will have anticipate project proponents' difficulties with certain conservation measures. In these situations they may have developed alternative methods of achieving the same conservation result. If IPaC does not contain alternative conservation measures, we recommend that you contact the local USFWS office with a list of the conservation measures that you are having difficulty with. This will allow the local office to assist you in developing alternative methods for achieving the desired results. A primary goal of this process is to allow project proponents to obtain the bulk of the design information needed on their own, thus freeing up the time of local USFWS staff to focus on assisting people with issues that require approaches that are more tailored to their specific situations. 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. Therefore, you should always contact the local USFWS office if you are uncertain as to the best course of action. The intent of IPaC is to make natural resource information more accessible to project proponents when they need it, not to cut-off contact 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?In most cases project proponents will still need to consult with local USFWS offices. Exceptions include situations where IPaC specifically identifies that no such need exists. However, even if additional consultation is required, it is anticipate that if the IPaC recommendations are incorporated the consultation process will be streamlined. In the future IPaC will be used to deliver an increasing number of programmatic Section 7 consultations. When this is the case, the system will provide specific procedures that can be followed to either further reduce or potentially eliminate the need for addition consultation.
If I implement the conservation measures on my IPaC report, can I be certain that this will fulfill all potential design requirements?Because environmental circumstance across the landscape vary widely, it is not possible for the USFWS to ensure that conservation measures presented on 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. To address the later situation, the USFWS has attempted to create a transparent system that identifies conservation objectives for each conservation measure. The hope is to provide sufficient information for project proponents to determine if they have a "non-typical" project that may not involve all of the impacts anticipated with the "typical" project. However, it is anticipated that even if it is determined that additional conservation measures are needed, the need for project modifications will be greatly reduced.
IPaC doesn't have my project type - does that mean that there are no conservation measures available to help me design my project?IPaC contains "project type" categories because some conservation measures are tailored for specific techniques or machinery commonly associated with different project types. Each "project type" has a series of "project activity" categories associated with it. While your project type may not yet be addressed by IPaC, it can often be useful to search the various identified project types to see if any of the identified activities are similar to those anticipated with your proposed project. For example, while you may be proposing a project that will include the development of a road and IPaC may not yet address your project type, it may contain recommended conservation measures for law enforcement projects that also include road building activities. In these circumstances you may find it helpful to consult the conservation measures identified for these project types. If you are proposing a project type not yet addressed by IPaC, we recommend that you start by selecting the project type most similar to your activity. While this may not give you the specific conservation measures needed for your project, it will hopefully point you in the right direction. Don't forget, if in doubt, contact your local USFWS office.
What do the acronyms of listing species statuses (E, T, C, etc...) stand for?
|E||Endangered||A species "in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range."|
|T||Threatened||A species "likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range."|
|EmE||Emergency Listing, Endangered||A temporary (240 days) listing for emergency purposes when species is at significant, immediate risk|
|EmT||Emergency Listing, Threatened||Not defined|
|EXPE||Experimental Population, Essential||A species listed as experimental and essential|
|EXPN||Experimental Population, Non-Essential||A species listed as experimental and non-essential. Experimental, nonessential populations of endangered species (e.g., red wolf) are treated as threatened species on public land, for consultation purposes, and as species proposed for listing on private land.|
|SAE||Similarity of Appearance (Endangered)||A species that is endangered due to similarity of appearance with another listed species and is listed for its protection. Species listed as E(S/A) are not biologically endangered or threatened and are not subject to Section 7 consultation.|
|SAT||Similarity of Appearance (Threatened)||A species that is threatened due to similarity of appearance with another listed species and is listed for its protection. Species listed as T(S/A) are not biologically endangered or threatened and are not subject to Section 7 consultation.|
|PE||Proposed Endangered||Species proposed for official listing as endangered.|
|PT||Proposed Threatened||Species proposed for official listing as threatened.|
|PEXPE||Proposed Experimental Population, Essential||Species proposed for official listing as experimental and essential.|
|PEXPN||Proposed Experimental Population, Non-Essential||proposed experimental population, non-essential. Species proposed for official listing as experimental and non-essential.|
|PSAE||Proposed Similarity of Appearance (Endangered)||proposed endangered, due to similarity of appearance. Species proposed for official listing as endangered due to similarity of appearance with another listed species.|
|PSAT||Proposed Similarity of Appearance (Threatened)||proposed threatened, due to similarity of appearance. Species proposed for official listing as threatened due to similarity of appearance with another listed species.|
|C||Candidate||A species under consideration for official listing for which there is sufficient information to support listing.|
What do I do if the Continue button in the Initial Project Scoping section on the "Define your project location" page is not activated so I cannot select it, even though I've defined my project location?This is a known problem that sometimes occurs when IPaC is being viewed through the Firefox internet browser. If this happens, you have two alternatives: 1) close all the Firefox browsers open under your desktop and restart the browser, or 2) use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox.
Last updated: May 24, 2013