Seattle Biological Evaluation

A biological evaluation describes a project's proposed actions and its potential effects on Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species and their designated critical habitat. With the City's federal regulatory partners, Seattle Public Utilities created the Seattle Biological Evaluation (SBE) as a streamlining tool to expedite federal permitting for the City of Seattle's in-City capital projects and operations and maintenance activities.

The SBE packages required information in a way that assists the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps), NOAA Fisheries (NOAA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in reviewing the effects of your proposed project on ESA-listed species and their designated critical habitat. These agencies also use the SBE to evaluate effects of your project on essential fish habitat (EFH), which is regulated under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Use the SBE if your project or activity...

  • ...requires a Corps permit or authorization.

        and
  • ...may affect one (or more) ESA-listed species or its designated critical habitat.

        and
  • ...is located within or adjacent to the municipal limits of the City of Seattle.

If your project is located beyond the municipal limits of the City of Seattle or is unable to use the methods identified in the SBE, then the SBE cannot be used to support your application to the Corps. In that case, a biological evaluation specific to your project location and activity must be prepared and submitted to the Corps.

 

Does my project need a Corps permit or authorization?

The best way to explore if your project needs a Corp permit or may affect an ESA-listed species or its critical habitat is to attend one of the every-other-month City of Seattle Pre-application Meetings with the Corps and other federal and state agencies. To get on the agenda or to obtain more information, email Fed_PreApp@seattle.gov.

 

How do I use the SBE?

The SBE consists of analyses of potential effects of certain routine activities conducted by the City of Seattle on ESA-listed species and their critical habitats; methods used to mitigate those effects; and forms used to package information required by the Corps, NOAA, and USFWS. Refer to the SBE document when completing the forms. Applicable SBE forms should be submitted to the Corps along with the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) for your project.

If your project would have No Effect (NE) on ESA-listed species and their critical habitats and would Not Adversely Affect (NAA) species regulated under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, complete the NE and NAA template and submit that form to the Corps along with the JARPA for your project. If your project would Not Likely Adversely Affect (NLAA) and/or would Likely Adversely Affect (LAA) ESA-listed species and their critical habitats and/or species regulated under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, follow these steps:

 

Contact us

For questions about or assistance with the SBE, Corps permitting, or ESA consult your departmental liaison:

  • Kate Spitzer, FAS
  • Annette Pearson, SCL
  • Jill Macik, SDOT
  • David Graves, SPR
  • Clay Antieau, SPU

Federal Representative

Department staff can contact the Corps' Regulatory Project Manager for City of Seattle projects for information and assistance: