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Request Natural Heritage Information

New York Natural Heritage makes its data available to inform biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, land protection, land use decisions, environmental assessment, and project review.

Note that information regarding the locations of rare species is considered sensitive. The distribution of information which identifies the locations of rare species or their habitats may lead to the collection or disturbance of the animals and plants at those locations. NYSDEC has the legal authority, under New York State Environmental Conservation Law, to restrict access to such information, and has adopted a policy regarding the release of information compiled by the New York Natural Heritage Program. Under this policy, the level of detail provided about the locations and identities of rare species may be limited in order to protect the sensitive resources.

  • Part I of an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). If you are completing Part 1 of either the Short Form EAF or Long Form EAF as part of the SEQR process, please see Completing Part 1 of an Environmental Assessment Form below.
  • Project Screening. If you need information on the presence of rare or listed plants and animals or of significant natural communities that may be impacted by a proposed development, project, or activity, see How to Obtain Information for a Project Site below.
  • Other Uses. If you would like to apply Natural Heritage information in any of the following activities, please contact NY Natural Heritage at NaturalHeritage@dec.ny.gov or (518) 402-8935 (and leave message).
    • municipal or regional planning
    • natural resource inventory or management
    • open space inventory or protection
    • environmental or biodiversity conservation
    • scientific research

Completing Part 1 of an Environmental Assessment Form

If you are completing Part 1 of either the Short or Long Environmental Assessment Form (EAF), use the EAF Mapper; see also Using the EAF Mapper. This online tool will provide the answers to several of the questions in Part 1 of the EAF, including the questions about listed plants and animals and about significant natural communities. The answers provided by the EAF Mapper are sufficient to complete those questions in the EAF, and a request for information from the New York Natural Heritage Program is not required. If, however, you would like more information on the species and communities reported by the EAF Mapper:

  • If the EAF Mapper reports any animals in the vicinity of your project site, contact the Permits staff at the appropriate NYSDEC Regional office for information about any permit considerations for the project or about potential impacts of the project on these species. (Contacting NY Natural Heritage is not necessary.)
  • If the EAF Mapper reports any plants or natural communities, and if you would like more information, submit a request to NY Natural Heritage for a project screening (see next section).

How to Obtain Information for a Project Site

The New York Natural Heritage Program will screen locations of proposed projects, activities, and SEQR-subject actions for any records in our database of rare plants and animals (both listed and unlisted) and of significant natural communities which are in the vicinity of the project or action and which may be impacted.

Before requesting a Natural Heritage project screening

We recommend that you review your project site with the Environmental Resource Mapper (ERM), an online tool on the NYSDEC website.

  • If your project site does not fall within an area displayed in the Rare Plants and Rare Animals layer or in the Significant Natural Communities layer, then New York Natural Heritage has no records to report in the vicinity of your project site. Submitting a project screening request to NY Natural Heritage is not necessary.
  • If your project site falls within an area identified for a state-listed animal, and if you would like information about the specific species, about any permit considerations for the project, or about potential impacts of the project on listed species, contact the Permits staff at the NYSDEC Regional office for the Region where the project is located. (You can also use the EAF Mapper (see section above) to identify the particular species in the vicinity of the site.)
  • If your project falls within an area identified for a plant, an unlisted animal, or a natural community, and if you would like more information than the ERM provides, submit a request to NY Natural Heritage for a project screening via our online Request Form or our dedicated e-mailbox. See Instructions below.

For a record of your results from the ERM, use the Identify Tool to click on your project location. Print or save the Identify Results window that opens.

Instructions for requesting a project screening from NY Natural Heritage

To request a screening of a specific project site, please use our online Project Screening Request Form (link leaves DEC's website). This allows online submission of information requests. Instructions are at the top of the form.

Alternatively, you may submit your requests by email to our dedicated e-mailbox, NaturalHeritage@dec.ny.gov. Include "info request" and the name of the project in the subject line. Attach a map and include the following information in an attachment or in the body of the email:

  • Why you need the information (e.g., SEQR review, environmental assessment for permit, planning board approval, management plan). If the proposed action is undergoing SEQR review, also include the name of the lead agency.
  • Brief description of the proposed project or activity (e.g., residential development, bridge repair, cellular communications tower, landfill siting).
  • Brief description of the current land use and habitats at the project site (e.g, wooded, agricultural, developed commercial).
  • Name of counties and towns where the proposed project is located; also very helpful are the project site's street address and/or geographic coordinates (e.g., latitude and longitude) and/or tax parcel numbers.
  • Map that includes labeled roads and other features, with the boundary of the proposed project clearly labeled, marked or highlighted. Please do not send architectural or engineering drawings or photographs.

We strongly encourage you to submit your request via our online form or by email as described above; however, if you are not able to use either of these two methods, we can accept requests mailed to the address below.

We strongly encourage you to submit your request during the early stages of a project.

Response time is 3-4 weeks from the date your request is received in our office. Projects extending over large areas or requiring more information may take longer. Requests are processed in the order in which they are received.

We provide a response by email to all information requests. Therefore, if you have not yet received a response, do not assume we have no data to report.

NY Natural Heritage Program - Information Services
NYS DEC
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-4757
Phone: (518) 402-8935 and leave message
Fax: (518) 402-8925


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    NY Natural Heritage Program
    625 Broadway, 5th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-4757
    518-402-8935
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