Several Federal environmental laws were enacted to protect or preserve the nation's natural biological resources. One of these laws, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), addresses any Federal action that could result in the modification of a stream or body of water that might have effects on the fish and wildlife resources that depend on that that body of water or its associated habitats. If adverse impacts to these resources are identified, then steps must be considered that would minimize or prevent those impacts. The FWCA also requires, when possible, to look for opportunities to improve the resources. If your project is in or near water, FEMA may need to conduct additional consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and state natural heritage program once your project is selected for funding.
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted to specifically address the needs of those species determined to be threatened or in danger of becoming extinct. The ESA prohibits killing, harming or harassing - "taking" of a species that has been designated "threatened or endangered" by the USFWS or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). This is one of the few environmental laws where there are criminal penalties associated with a violation, particularly the taking of a threatened or endangered species. Special procedures have been defined in Section 7 of the ESA that are required when a Federal action or funding is involved. It is these procedures along with the responsibilities under the FWCA that require a federal agency to evaluate proposed actions for potential impacts. The questions and guidance in this section are designed to provide information useful in determining if your proposed project is likely to trigger the FWCA or ESA, and if so, steps and costs that might be involved in reducing the potential impacts.
- C-1: Determining if there are protected species or designated critical habitat in the area affected by the project.
- C-2: Determining if your project removes vegetation.
- C-3: Determining if your project is near water or in a natural stream or body of water.
- C-4: How to Address Adverse Effects.
- C-5: How to provide relevant and helpful support documentation.