Explore data for over 100,000 consultations done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Section 7 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) arguably offers the strongest protections for listed species, but is also often considered the most contentious part of the law. When people talk of the ESA stopping or delaying projects, they are talking about section 7. But this common perception of the ESA hadn’t been critically examined in nearly 25 years, so we did a thorough analysis of every section 7 “consultation” recorded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from 2008 through 2015. The resulting paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed the common perception was wrong. Out of over 88,000 projects evaluated by FWS, zero were stopped as a result of FWS finding the project would jeopardize a species’ existence, and only two of the projects required reasonable and prudent modifications to proceed.
We make the most recently available FWS section 7 data available through our Section 7 Explorer. This app has many different options that allow users to slice-and-dice the data and visualize patterns. Want to know about consultations for Indiana bats? Filter on species. Want to know about consultations in California? Filter on state. There are over a dozen possible filters you can use to refine data on over 100,000 consultations FWS has done since 2008. Feel free to use the app embedded below or go to the Section 7 Explorer main page.