Integrate the environmental review process into your project design
Quickly and easily identify USFWS managed resources and suggested conservation measures for your project.
Explore species and habitat
See if any listed species1, critical habitat, migratory birds or other natural resources may be impacted by your project.
Using the map tool, explore other resources in your location, such as wetlands, wildlife refuges, GAP land cover, and other important biological resources.
Conduct a regulatory review
Log in and define a project to get an official species list and evaluate potential impacts on resources managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Follow IPaC's Endangered Species Review process—a streamlined, step-by-step consultation process available in select areas for certain project types, agencies, and species.
Perform an impact analysis
For projects or species not covered by the step-by-step consultation process, get a list of potential impacts from your specified project activities to use when making effect determinations.
Receive conservation measures recommended by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to avoid, minimize, or mitigate effects to listed species.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's new in IPaC?
Creating an IPaC account and logging in
You can now create an account and log in to IPaC. This much-requested feature allows you to save your progress and return at a later date for further action. Additionally, the login capability makes it easier to obtain updated species lists and track your many projects and their associated documents in IPaC.
Instead of entering your contact information each time you submit an official species list request, you can now save time by entering it on a Profile page, which will be used to pre-populate request forms for an official species list, for example.
Managing your projects and project access
You now have 'My Projects' page which lists the projects you have created or have been given access to by someone else. From this page, you can easily return to a project at a later date for further action.
IPaC now offers the ability to add other members to a project. You simply provide the email address of the prospective member, and IPaC will send an email to them with a link to the project. If the new member has not yet created an IPaC account, the email will include a link for doing so.
Storing and accessing project documents
For a given IPaC project, you now have a central store of IPaC-generated documents, such as species lists or determination key documents. Documents are no longer sent to you via email, but instead, you have indefinite access to them via your IPaC project. IPaC also offers the ability to upload documents that are relevant to your project design, such as maps, survey results, and so forth.
Following a streamlined, step-by-step consultation process
IPaC now offers an endangered species review process, a step-by-step consultation for certain species and/or project types. This streamlined approach helps prepare action agencies for consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, in some cases, allows them to complete the consultation process online without the need for direct contact with an FWS office. IPaC also provides official documentation reflecting whether or not consultation is necessary and/or the consultation results. Over time, additional species and project types will be added to IPaC’s online consultation process.
For U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field offices, this new capability saves personnel time and effort by automatically handling many of the simpler and more routine projects that frequently come into field offices. IPaC even logs the projects in the FWS's database for tracking consultations (TAILS) automatically. The process saves time for everyone!
For projects that are conducted, permitted, funded, or licensed by any Federal agency, the first step in the endangered species review process is to get an official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species list. Projects unaffiliated with a Federal agency may skip this step.
For each species in the project area, action agencies are required to make a determination regarding the potential effects of the project. For the endangered species review process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has performed up-front analysis for certain project types, agencies, and species. These analyses have been compiled into determination keys, a simple online interview process to arrive at a recommended determination for some or all species in a project area.
Each determination key starts with a qualification interview to see if the key is appropriate for a given project. If a project qualifies for the determination key, the project proponent answers a set of interview questions that may result in the receipt of a ‘Consistency Determination’ letter. Most determination keys require that the project proponent give the Consistency Letter, which includes an IPaC project locator code, to the Action Agency representative, who logs into IPaC and submits a request for concurrence verification from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (If the Action Agency representative performs the IPaC endangered species review, they can skip the Consistency Determination letter step).
Species that are not covered by determination keys must still be evaluated manually. For some species in some areas of the country, action agencies can use IPaC to perform an impact analysis, a breakdown of how common project activities could affect species in the project area. As part of the impact analysis, project proponents receive conservation measures (CMs) in the specific context of the project activities, the potential species involved, and location. CMs provide guidance on how to enhance, reduce, or eliminate the impacts of project activities on listed species1. CMs and other impact analysis data can be manually incorporated into a Biological Assessment outside of IPaC.
Figure 1. A diagram of IPaC’s new streamlined consultation process.
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 the 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 USFWS review under the ESA, you can request an official species list after logging in to IPaC and defining a project. The official species list can be requested as part of the endangered species review process launched from the Project Home page or the Regulatory Review page.
An official species list is an official letter from the local U.S. Fish and 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.
How do I get an official species list using IPaC?
To receive an official letter and species list from the local USFWS field office, first log in to IPaC and define your project location (or define your project location first and then log in). Click Define Project and enter a project name and description. On the Project Home page, click Request Species List or click Start Review, and follow the prompts. Getting an official species list is now the first step in the endangered species review process. For a short video demonstration, click the link below.
How do I update an official species list using IPaC?
To update an official species list obtained from IPaC, first log in to IPaC. From the My Projects page, find the desired project, expand the row, and click Project Home. In the What's next box on the project home page, there is Request updated list button to update your species list.
If an official species list was requested with a different email address than your IPaC account, or if a species list was obtained prior to May 2015, the project will not appear on your My Projects list. To add these projects to your list, go to the My Projects and click the request access link at the top of the list. Enter the consultation code from the official species list and the original email address used in the request to gain access to the project. The species list can then be updated using the normal method above.
I just want a list of species for a given location for informational purposes only. Does IPaC provide that?
IPaC offers you the ability to obtain an informal 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. This ability does NOT require you to have an IPaC account or log in.
Projects that are conducted, permitted, funded, or licensed by any Federal agency are required to obtain an ‘official species list’ instead of the informal list described above.
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). The official species list document is available to you any time you log in to IPaC and access the project, and may be printed out and kept on hand in the project proponents' administrative record.
What does IPaC use to generate the list of migratory bird species potentially occurring in my specified location?
Migratory birds that are displayed on the IPaC species list are based on ranges in the latest edition of the National Geographic Guide, Birds of North America (6th Edition, 2011 by Jon L. Dunn, and Jonathan Alderfer). Although these ranges are coarse in nature, a number of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service migratory bird biologists agree that these maps are some of the best range maps to date. These ranges were clipped to a specific Bird Conservation Region (BCR) or USFWS Region/Regions, if it was indicated in the 2008 list of Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC) that a species was a BCC species only in a particular Region/Regions. Additional modifications have been made to some ranges based on more local or refined range information and/or information provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists with species expertise. All migratory birds that show in areas on land in IPaC are those that appear in the 2008 Birds of Conservation Concern report.
Ranges in IPaC for birds off the Atlantic coast are derived from species distribution models developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) using the best available seabird survey data for the offshore Atlantic Coastal region to date. NOAANCCOS assisted USFWS in developing seasonal species ranges from their models for specific use in IPaC. Some of these birds are not BCC species but were of interest for inclusion because they may occur in high abundance off the coast at different times throughout the year, which potentially makes them more susceptible to certain types of development and activities taking place in that area. For more refined details about the abundance and richness of bird species within your project area off the Atlantic Coast, see the Northeast Ocean Data Portal. The Portal also offers data and information about other types of taxa that may be helpful in your project review.
About the NOAANCCOS models: the models were developed as part of the NOAANCCOS project: Integrative Statistical Modeling and Predictive Mapping of Marine Bird Distributions and Abundance on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. The models resulting from this project are being used in a number of decision-support/mapping products in order to help guide decision-making on activities off the Atlantic Coast with the goal of reducing impacts to migratory birds. One such product is the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, which can be used to explore details about the relative occurrence and abundance of bird species in a particular area off the Atlantic Coast.
All migratory bird range maps within IPaC are continuously being updated as new and better information becomes available.
Can I get additional information about the levels of occurrence in my project area of specific birds or groups of birds listed in IPaC?
The Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) provides a tool currently called the "Histogram Tool", which draws from the data within the AKN (latest,survey, point count, citizen science datasets) to create a view of relative abundance of species within a particular location over the course of the year. The results of the tool depict the frequency of detection of a species in survey events, averaged between multiple datasets within AKN in a particular week of the year. You may access the histogram tools through the Migratory Bird Programs AKN Histogram Tools webpage.
The tool is currently available for 4 regions (California, Northeast U.S., Southeast U.S. and Midwest), which encompasses the following 32 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North, Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In the near future, there are plans to expand this tool nationwide within the AKN, and allow the graphs produced to appear with the list of trust resources generated by IPaC, providing you with an additional level of detail about the level of occurrence of the species of particular concern potentially occurring in your project area throughout the course of the year.
For additional details about the relative occurrence and abundance of both individual bird species and groups of bird species within your project area off the Atlantic Coast, please visit the Northeast Ocean Data Portal. The Portal also offers data and information about other taxa besides birds that may be helpful to you in your project review. Alternately, you may download the bird model results files underlying the portal maps through the NOAANCCOS Integrative Statistical Modeling and Predictive Mapping of Marine Bird Distributions and Abundance on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf project webpage.
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 USFWS 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. USFWS 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 species1 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.