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 will continue to be improved over time.
An overview of IPaCs tools designed to assist users with analyzing their project and with consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A brief overview of IPaC.
IPaC 10-minute tour
10-minute tour of IPaC's tools: Official Species Lists, Determination Keys, and the Consultation Package Builder (intended for Action Agency partners). The original recording for this 10-minute tour occurred during a demonstration of tools for the Department of Defense on June 8, 2021.
Requesting an Official Species List
This video demonstrates how to obtain a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Official Species List.
Determination Key demo
A video demonstration of Determination Keys using the Louisiana Statewide Determination Key.
Determination Key deep dive
What is a Determination Key and who sponsors them? What kinds of projects can they screen? IPaC biologists answer these questions and share many resources available to FWS biologists on their SharePoint site that can help biologists to put together a DKey request.
Consultation Package Builder commercial
CPB: tool that provides an interactive, step-by-step process to help you prepare a full consultation package leveraging U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data and recommendations.
Consultation Package Builder demo
In this full demonstration of IPaC's Consultation Package Builder (CPB), we walk through building a Biological Assessment ("Consultation Package"). Recorded September 02 2021.
Connecting the dots (IPaC + EPM)
This video walks through the IPaC workflow and discusses the connections between the different tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 proposed may impact sensitive natural resources, and who would like to obtain suggestions for ways to address these impacts.
How does IPaC benefit me?
If you have a project that could potentially affect USFWS trust resources, such as migratory birds, species and critical habitat proposed or listed under the Endangered Species Act, inter-jurisdictional fishes, certain marine mammals, wetlands, coastal barrier units, or National Wildlife Refuge lands, IPaC can help you determine what impacts are likely to occur from the project and provide suggestions for addressing them.
By obtaining this information early in the project development process, it can be easier for project proponents to incorporate measures to minimize or avoid impacts into their project planning, thereby avoiding potential project delays and saving time and money.
IPaC is also designed to assist the USFWS, who is charged with evaluating such impacts.
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 by providing information during the earliest planning stages. Subsequent discussions with USFWS staff regarding your specific project (e.g., scope, scale, timing, etc.) may result in modifications of IPaC-generated Biological Assessments, determination key documents, conservation measures, or other recommendations specific to your project.
How do I log in to IPaC?
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 and ECOSphere. The integration satisfies enhanced Federal security requirements for multi-factor authentication.
How to log in:
You will need to create a login.gov account before logging in to IPaC. 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.
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 Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers 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.
What is Consultation Package Builder (CPB)?
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 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 USFWS data from the internal Effect Pathway Manager (EPM); and
- Providing a consistent, comprehensive information package that is ready to submit to the USFWS as a request for consultation.
Subsequent releases of CPB upgrades will include new functionality and features. 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
CPB guides you through evaluating and documenting your project's potential effects on species protected by the Endangered Species Act. A video demonstrating the CPB functionality can be found here.
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 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 do I use CPB?
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 can be evaluated in a biological assessment using 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
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.
NOTE: Generating an official species list does not start the consultation clock for a project.Demo: Requesting a species list using IPaC
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.
If you need to update a species list for a project created after May 2015 by someone other than you in IPaC, we recommend reaching out to the original IPaC project owner via email and requesting access. If that person no longer has a valid account/email, please contact the IPaC business team at email@example.com. If you do not know the project code and/or email address of the original IPaC user who created the project, you will need to create a new project.
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 Fisheries, 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. Species and critical habitats under the sole responsibility of NOAA Fisheries are NOT shown on this list. Please contact NOAA Fisheries for species under their jurisdiction.
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 (e.g., delineate all areas that could possibly be affected, including nearby areas that may be affected by runoff, noise, etc.). For projects with a Federal nexus that are required to consult with USFWS under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, we recommend defining the project location for IPaC as your Action Area; definitions of Action and Action Area can be found at 50 CFR 402.02.
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, you may use IPaC for informational purposes. However, if you believe your project may have adverse effects to 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/service/habitat-conservation-plans.
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, marine mammals, wildlife refuges, coastal barrier units, 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. To generate this document, click the PRINT RESOURCE LIST button on the left side of the screen.
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.
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, unless you believe there is an error with the list). The official species list document is available to you any time you log in to IPaC and access the project, and it 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 list of migratory birds that potentially occur 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 Rapid Avian Information Locator (RAIL) 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.
What does IPaC use to generate the list of species and critical habitats in my specified location and what species are included?
IPaC cross-references the location specified by the user with USFWS maps of species ranges and designated critical habitat and with the data on listing status to provide information on species and critical habitat that may be in your specified location.
Species data (maps, listing status, etc.) are maintained by our USFWS field offices and species leads, and are continually updated over time. Updates to species data appear in IPaC as they are published. If the species range has been updated for a species on an existing species list in IPaC, the project is highlighted in yellow with a “species update available” notification; for those projects, we recommend you request an updated species list to see the latest data.
The species list in IPaC includes listed, proposed, and candidate species, experimental populations, and species with a similarity of appearance. More details on the species statuses included in IPaC can be found on our Listing Status page.
How often is IPaC updated?
IPaC is updated on an ongoing basis. USFWS field offices update and improve the information that IPaC depends on 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 office(s) 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 information has been added that would result in changes to a species list or other documentation specific to your project.
How do I create a multipart polygon feature to use in the IPaC mapper?
Multipart polygon features are composed of more than one physical part that only references one set of attributes. You will need ArcGIS to create a multipart polygon feature. To create a multipart feature, you need to finish each part first, then finish the whole sketch once you have created the individual parts.
If you have existing features that you want to combine to make a multipart feature, you can do this with either Merge or Union. Merge allows you to combine features within the same layer, while Union works with features in different layers.
Once you create a multipart polygon feature it can be used in IPaC.
How do I access an IPaC project for which I am not currently a member?
To access a project in IPaC, please reach out to the original IPaC project owner via email and request that they add you as a member to the project. On the last page of all IPaC correspondence since February 2022, there is a contact page with the email for the IPaC user who generated that document. If that person no longer has a valid account/email, please contact the IPaC business team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where should I go to explore IPaC for testing/training purposes (e.g., I’m creating projects that are not real)?
IPaC has a fully public IPaC Beta site that has all of the same functionality available in our Production (Live) IPaC. Please use IPaC Beta to try out our features and work on test projects for testing and training.
NOTE: Functionality is the same between Production IPaC and Beta IPaC. However, species data may not be up to date on Beta IPaC as that database is not updated as frequently.
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.