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New York Nature Explorer

A Gateway to Biodiversity Information

Mountain Deathcamas - Zigadenus elegans glaucus
Mountain Deathcamas (Zigadenus elegans glaucus)
photo: Troy Weldy

New York Nature Explorer is an online tool for finding out about the animals, plants and habitats in your neighborhood or in your area of interest.

As a gateway to biodiversity information, New York Nature Explorer is intended for:

  • landowners and land managers;
  • citizens;
  • municipal officials, planners, consultants;
  • project developers;
  • researchers;
  • students and;
  • anyone else interested in the natural world.

Nature Explorer can be used in two ways:

  • Users may choose a county, town, or watershed, or they may specify their own location on a map. They will then receive a list of the animals, plants, and significant natural communities that have been found there, as documented in databases maintained by NYS DEC.
  • Users may also choose a specific animal, plant, or natural community type, and then get a list of the counties, towns, or watersheds where it has been found.

The lists generated by NY Nature Explorer can:

  • Help provide a better understanding of the diversity of life in New York and in your area.
  • Serve as one resource to better inform land use decisions, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental assessment.
  • Offer an initial indication of rare and listed animals and plants in the vicinity for those involved in the planning or permitting of a project or action.

Launch New York Nature Explorer

Information currently available from NY Nature Explorer includes:

  • Birds: county lists only (from the 2nd NYS Breeding Bird Atlas, 2000-2005)
  • Reptiles and amphibians: county lists only (from the NYS Herp Atlas, 1990-1999)
  • Rare animals, rare plants, and significant natural communities: county, town, watershed, and user-defined area lists (from the databases of the New York Natural Heritage Program, ongoing). Natural communities are high-quality wetlands, forests, grasslands, ponds, streams, and other types of habitats, ecosystems, and ecological areas.

Not all animals and all plants are currently included; DEC plans to add more groups over time. (For sensitive species, including animals state-listed as endangered or threatened, information will be available at only the county and watershed levels.)


The information in New York Nature Explorer was prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation using the data currently available. It is deemed accurate but is not guaranteed. NYS DEC is not responsible for any inaccuracies in the data. NYS DEC does not warrant the suitability of the data for any particular purpose, and does not necessarily endorse any interpretations or products derived from the data.

The species and locations reported by New York Nature Explorer are not a definitive statement about the presence or absence of all plants and animals, including rare or state-listed species, and of all significant natural communities. Not all of New York State has been surveyed. The information reported by New York Nature Explorer is not a substitute for on-site surveys that may be warranted or required.

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  • NY Natural Heritage Program
    625 Broadway, 5th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-4757
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