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 Act (ESA) Review process—a streamlined, step-by-step consultation process available in select areas for certain project types, agencies, and species.
Build a biological assessment
Consultation Package Builder (CPB) replaces and improves on the original Impact Analysis by providing an interactive, step-by-step process to help you prepare a full consultation package leveraging U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data and recommendations, including conservation measures designed to help you avoid or minimize effects to listed species.
CPB has been released as a beta version of the software and will continue to be improved over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's new in IPaC?
Logging in to IPaC using Login.gov
ECOS has partnered with DOI and login.gov to fulfill user authentication needs for all ECOS applications, including IPaC. This authentication service, provided by GSA, offers a single sign-on capability across several government websites and applications such as USAjobs.gov.
Login.gov supports authentication with a PIV card if you are a Federal user, and offers other two-factor authentication methods for non-federal users. This increases security by preventing hackers from compromising your account if they have your password only. In addition, login.gov improves single sign-on behavior so you don’t have to sign in multiple times when visiting different applications in ECOS. This integration satisfies enhanced Federal security requirements for multi-factor authentication.
How to log in:
- If you are new to login.gov, click ‘Create an account’ and set up your account. Login.gov has excellent instructions here. You must use the same email address that you use for IPaC today to link to your account information in IPaC. All Federal government employees with a government ID must associate their PIV cards with their login.gov account, as described in the login.gov instructions. Other users may choose another optional two-factor authentication method. You will need to create a login.gov account before logging in to IPaC.
- If you already have a login.gov account using the same email address you currently use for IPaC, you do not need to set up a new account. However, if you are an FWS user, you will need to associate your PIV card.
- If you have trouble setting up your account, you can contact the login.gov help desk at https://login.gov/contact/.
- PIV authentication does not work within the Firefox browser. Please use Chrome or Edge when logging in with your PIV.
- If you have multiple certificates associated with your PIV, you may get a time-out error. Select another certificate in the list; once you select the correct certificate you will be redirected to IPaC
Getting a Biological Assessment using Consultation Package Builder
IPaC’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) Review has a new step in the step-by-step consultation process--a feature called Consultation Package Builder (CPB) that was released in late December 2020. Because incomplete or poor information in consultation requests is a major factor in being unable to complete consultation in a timely manner, we designed CPB to address this need by:
- Helping you compile a complete Biological Assessment (BA);
- Assisting you in developing a good action area and documenting all potential effects and conservation actions associated with a proposed project;
- Leveraging the USFWS effect pathway data; and
- Providing a consistent, comprehensive information package that is ready to submit to the USFWS as a request for consultation.
Note: CPB replaces IPaC’s Impact Analysis feature.
The first release of CPB is a beta version. This means that substantive changes and additions are being made until the first official release of CPB in mid 2021. Most of the functionality is available now; however, some improvements are still under development.
Over time, you can expect helpful information for additional species and project types to be added into IPaC’s online consultation process.
Overview of CPB:
This new tool guides you through evaluating and documenting your project's potential effects on species protected by the Endangered Species Act.
For all species and designated or proposed critical habitat that are identified by IPaC, the Federal Action Agency is obligated to determine whether a project "may affect" the species and critical habitat. If you determine that there will be "no effect" to all species and critical habitat within the project action area, then a summary of your analysis can be saved for your records and you are finished.
If you identify that your project "may affect" any species or critical habitat presented by IPaC, then consultation is required with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an analysis of the effects must be conducted. For some project types and species, IPaC helps you complete this analysis using data from the Service's internal effect pathway manager (EPM). Where available, IPaC presents EPM data as suggestions to consider during your analysis in CPB. CPB will then generate a biological assessment that you may submit as part of your consultation package to initiate consultation.
A consultation package contains documents that support your analysis of the project as it pertains to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, including the official species list, any determination key analyses, and a biological assessment (or similar environmental review document).
How it works:
After you request an official species list and evaluate any potential determination keys, IPaC guides you through the process of evaluating and documenting your project. Species that are not covered by determination keys should be evaluated through CPB. Here is an overview of the CPB process:
Describe the project site and activities:
- Describe the project site, including whether the species are present on the site
- Describe the project activities, including when and where they will take place
- For each activity, describe the impacts it may have on the land, air, and water (i.e., stressors)
For each anticipated stressor:
- Estimate the actual impact the stressor could have on the environment, considering any conservation measures you plan to include
- Draw the extent of the expected impact on a map, and confirm the action area
For each species and critical habitat:
- Evaluate whether the species will be exposed to the stressors, and if so, evaluate the potential impacts, taking into account the conservation measures used to limit the impacts
- Evaluate possible effects on individuals of the species that are a direct result of the project activities
- Make an effect determination
Who can use IPaC?
IPaC is available to everyone, whether private citizens or public employees, who needs information to assist in determining how activities being conducted 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 could potentially affect USFWS trust resources, such as migratory birds, species proposed or listed under the Endangered Species Act, inter-jurisdictional fishes, specific marine mammals, wetlands, and 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 to anyone over the internet whenever it is needed rather than only when USFWS personnel are available.
Our goal is to help improve the efficiency of project planning and 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 Biological Assessments, conservation measures, or other 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 ESA Review process launched from the Project Home page or the Regulatory Review page.
An official species list is an official letter from the local USFWS 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 official species list from the local USFWS field office, first log in to IPaC and define your project location (or, optionally, 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 the first step in the ESA 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 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 last obtained prior to May 2015, the project is no longer supported, and you will need to create a new project. For projects created after May 2015 by a person in your office who has since left, you can add these projects to your My Projects list by going 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. If you do not have the consultation code and original email address, you will need to create a new project.
What if my project does not have a Federal nexus (i.e., it is not being funded, carried out, or permitted by a Federal agency)?
If you do not have a Federal nexus and you believe your project may have adverse affects to a listed species or critical habitat, please contact the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office, and visit this site to read more about options for landowners: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/landowners/index.html.
I just want a list of species for a given location for informational purposes only. Does IPaC provide that?
IPaC offers the ability to obtain an informal list of endangered species, critical habitat, migratory birds, wildlife refuges, and wetlands (collectively referred to as trust resources) under USFWS jurisdiction that are known or expected to be on or near the project area, as drawn.
This printed resource list from the IPaC Resources page is NOT considered official USFWS correspondence for ESA consultation purposes. It is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an analysis of project level impacts. You are NOT required to have an IPaC account and log in to IPaC in order to get an informal list of resources.
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 you consider not only the physical location of project activities, but also any surrounding area on the landscape where potential effects to species may occur (i.e., consider both direct and indirect effects). For projects with a Federal nexus that are required to consult with USFWS under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, 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. While IPaC is heavily focused on streamlining delivery of section 7 consultation, information from IPaC can assist in the implementation of all activities regardless of whether they will be implemented through sections 7 or 10 of the ESA, or even outside of the ESA arena. As part of the section 7 consultation process, IPaC can provide an official species list, assist with (and, in some cases, conclude) consultation for certain species and activities, and assist you in preparing a Biological Assessment.
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 some Federal agency actions, 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.).
Unless otherwise specified, an official species list requested through IPaC is considered to be a USFWS official response under the ESA (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. However, for projects that also require consideration under FWCA, NEPA, etc., project proponents may still need to contact their local USFWS field office.
For projects that have been evaluated in IPaC through a determination key, further contact with USFWS may not be necessary. Consistency letters generated from determination keys are also official USFWS correspondence; these project-specific letters outline whether additional contact with USFWS is required.
What does IPaC use to generate the migratory birds potentially occurring in my specified location?
The Migratory Bird Resource List is comprised of USFWS Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC) and other species that may warrant special attention in your project location.
The migratory bird list generated for your project is derived from data provided by the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN). The AKN data is based on a growing collection of survey, banding, and citizen science datasets and is queried and filtered to return a list of those birds reported as occurring in the 10km grid cell(s) which your project intersects, and that have been identified as warranting special attention because they are a BCC species in that area, an eagle (Eagle Act requirements may apply), or a species that has a particular vulnerability to offshore activities or development.
Again, the Migratory Bird Resource list includes only a subset of birds that may occur in your project area. It is not representative of all birds that may occur in your project area. To get a list of all birds potentially present in your project area, please visit the AKN Phenology Tool.
What does IPaC use to generate the probability of presence graphs for the migratory birds potentially occurring in my specified location?
The probability of presence graphs associated with your migratory bird list are based on data provided by the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN). This data is derived from a growing collection of survey, banding, and citizen science datasets .
Probability of presence data is continuously being updated as new and better information becomes available. To learn more about how the probability of presence graphs are produced and how to interpret them, go the Probability of Presence Summary and then click on the "Tell me about these graphs" link.
Does IPaC include listed species for which NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is the lead agency, or must I contact NOAA Fisheries directly?
IPaC does not display listed species or critical habitats under the sole jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries2, as USFWS does not have the authority to speak on behalf of NOAA and the Department of Commerce.
Generally, NOAA Fisheries is the lead agency for listed marine species (i.e., marine mammals, sea turtles, marine and anadromous fish, and marine invertebrates and plants), while USFWS manages land and freshwater species, along with manatees, sea otters, and 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 NOAA Fisheries share the lead responsibilities. To obtain a list of species in your project area for which NOAA Fisheries is the sole lead agency, you will need to contact NOAA Fisheries.
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 select species, project-related species data is limited at this time. USFWS continues to add species and project information, and the pool of data is growing.
We recommend that you check IPaC periodically to see if the information you need has become available.
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 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:
- 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
- There may still be the need to contact the local USFWS office to fulfill the requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.
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 re-check your results on IPaC at any time as needed. IPaC will prompt you when new informatation has been added tht would result in changes to a species list or other documentation specific to your project.
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 applicable 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.
Species listed under the Endangered Species Act are threatened or endangered; IPaC also shows species that are candidates, or proposed, for listing. See the listing status page for more information. IPaC only shows species that are regulated by USFWS (see FAQ).
- NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce.