In 2002, the courts determined for a temporary period that any actions subject to consultation that may affect the Canada lynx (including "not likely to adversely affect") required formal consultation and preparation of a biological opinion. In response to the situation, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the next 6 months conducted three batched consultations on "high priority" projects. Batching several projects of a similar nature or that involve a common species is another consultation option under ESA section 7.
At the time the mountain plover was proposed for ESA listing, the Wyoming Level 2 team directed the RCTT to develop plover project screens. Although the FWS declined to proposed listing the mountain plover while the screens were in progress, the plover continued to be a designated sensitive species for the Forest Service and BLM. The information and effect and decision pathways in the screens continued to apply regardless of the listing status and the Level 2 team directed them to be completed.
The interagency RCTT used an "effects determination criteria" process to develop the mountain plover screens for Wyoming, based on a process originally conceived as an interagency tool in the PNW. This involved consulting BLM oil & gas experts to identify and deconstruct activities associated with different forms of O&G exploration and development. Then a mountain plover species expert was brought in to work with the RCTT to identify risks and effects associated with those activities. The effects determination criteria process is presented in the powerpoint below, followed by the oil & gas activity descriptions (which were updated by the USFS in 2011). These activity descriptions are still useful today and could be used in developing other ESA section 7 streamlining tools for energy development. They and the overall approach can also be used as a template for applying to other land management activities and species.