- Contact information
- For more information on the working list, contact:
- Julie Bleser
NHI data manager
Wisconsin natural heritage working list
The Wisconsin natural heritage working list contains species known or suspected to be rare in the state along with natural communities native to Wisconsin. It includes species legally designated as "endangered" or "threatened" as well as species in the advisory "special concern" category. Most of the species and natural communities on the list are actively tracked and we encourage data submissions on these species. This list is meant to be dynamic - it is updated as often as new information regarding the biological status of species becomes available. The Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) program welcomes your input on any aspect of the list. To learn more about the species and communities on the working list, please see the Endangered Resources biodiversity pages.
Key to the working list
The Wisconsin NHI program is part of an international network of programs that focus on rare plants and animals, natural communities and other rare elements of nature. The defining and unifying characteristic of this network is the use of a standard methodology for collecting, processing and managing data on the occurrences of natural biological diversity. A key feature of the NHI methodology is a system for assessing rarity of the various elements at the global (G) and state (S) level. These ranks have proven useful in directing action toward the elements most in need of conservation. The methodology was developed by The Nature Conservancy and is currently coordinated by NatureServe , an international non-profit organization.
The Wisconsin NHI working list records which elements are tracked in the state. The working list is revised as species' populations change and as our knowledge about their status and distribution in Wisconsin increases. The list presented here was revised July 2016. Definitions of ranks are provided below, along with definitions for other abbreviations used in the working list.
- ELCODE: Unique 10-digit code for each element - plant, animal or natural community.
- Scientific Name: Scientific name used by the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory program.
- s: Indicates that the element is a species of greatest conservation need based on Wisconsin’s Wildlife Action Plan.
- Common Name: Standard, contrived or agreed upon common names.
- Global Rank: Global element rank.
- State Rank: State element rank.
- US Status: Federal protection status designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species Program indicating the biological status of a species in Wisconsin. LE = listed endangered; LT = listed threatened; PE = proposed for listing as endangered; NEP = nonessential experimental population(s) in part of its range; C = candidate for future listing; CH = critical habitat; *SOC = species of concern; HPR = high potential range.
*Federal species of concern are those species that may be in need of concentrated conservation actions, which vary depending on the health of the populations and degree and types of threats. They receive no legal protection and are not necessarily species that will eventually be proposed for listing as threatened or endangered.
- WI Status: Protection category designated by the DNR. END = endangered; THR = threatened; *SC = special concern.
*Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and federal regulations regarding special concern species range from full protection to no protection. The current categories and their respective level of protection are SC/P = fully protected; SC/N = no laws regulating use, possession, or harvesting; SC/H = take regulated by establishment of open closed seasons; SC/FL = federally protected as endangered or threatened, but not so designated by DNR; SC/M = fully protected by federal and state laws under the Migratory Bird Act.
Special concern species are those species about which some problem of abundance or distribution is suspected but not yet proved. The main purpose of this category is to focus attention on certain species before they become threatened or endangered.
Global element ranks
- G1 = Critically Imperiled. At very high risk of extinction or elimination due to very restricted range, very few populations or occurrences, very steep declines, very severe threats, or other factors.
- G2 = Imperiled. At high risk of extinction or elimination due to restricted range, few populations or occurrences, steep declines, severe threats, or other factors.
- G3 = Vulnerable. At moderate risk of extinction or elimination due to a fairly restricted range, relatively few populations or occurrences, recent and widespread declines, threats, or other factors.
- G4 = Apparently secure. At fairly low risk of extinction or elimination due to an extensive range and/or many populations or occurrences, but with possible cause for some concern as a result of local recent declines, threats, or other factors.
- G5 = Secure. At very low risk or extinction or elimination due to a very extensive range, abundant populations or occurrences, and little to no concern from declines or threats.
- G#G# = A numeric range rank (e.g., G2G3, G1G3) is used to indicate uncertainty about the exact status of a taxon or ecosystem type. Ranges cannot skip more than two ranks (e.g., GU should be used rather than G1G4).
- GNA = A conservation status rank is not applicable because the species or ecosystem is not a suitable target for conservation activities.
- GNR = Global rank not yet assessed.
- GU = Unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends. Note: whenever possible (when the range of uncertainty is three consecutive ranks or less), a range rank (e.g., G2G3) should be used to delineate the limits (range) of uncertainty.
- GH = Possibly Extinct (species) / Eliminated (ecosystems) – Known from only historical occurrences but still some hope of rediscovery. Examples of evidence include (1) that a species has not been documented in approximately 20–40 years despite some searching and/or some evidence of significant habitat loss or degradation; (2) that a species or ecosystem has been searched for unsuccessfully, but not thoroughly enough to presume that it is extinct or eliminated throughout its range.
- GX = Presumed Extinct (species) – Not located despite intensive searches and virtually no likelihood of rediscovery. Presumed Eliminated (natural community) – Eliminated throughout its range, due to loss of key dominant and characteristic taxa and/or elimination of the sites and ecological processes on which the type depends.
Species with a questionable taxonomic assignment are given a "Q" after the global rank.
Subspecies and varieties are given subranks composed of the letter "T" plus a number or letter. The definition of the second character of the subrank parallels that of the full global rank. (Examples: a rare subspecies of a rare species is ranked G1T1; a rare subspecies of a common species is ranked G5T1.)
State element ranks
- S1 = Critically imperiled in Wisconsin due to a very restricted range, very few populations or occurrences, very steep declines, severe threats, or other factors.
- S2 = Imperiled in Wisconsin due to a restricted range, few populations or occurrences, steep declines, severe threats, or other factors.
- S3 = Vulnerable in Wisconsin due to a fairly restricted range, relatively few populations or occurrences, recent and widespread declines, threats, or other factors.
- S4 = Apparently secure in Wisconsin due to an extensive range and/or many populations or occurrences, but with possible cause for some concern as a result of local recent declines, threats, or other factors.
- S5 = Secure in Wisconsin due to a very extensive range, abundant populations or occurrences, with little to no concern from declines or threats.
- S#S# = A range rank (S2S3, S1S3) is used to indicate any range of uncertainty regarding the status of the element in Wisconsin.
- SNA = A state rank is not applicable because the element is not a suitable target for conservation activities, typically because it is non-native, accidental, irregular, a long-distance migrant/transitory, or the element’s presence in Wisconsin is unconfirmed.
- SNR = Not ranked. State conservation status not yet assessed.
- SU = Unrankable due to lack of information or to substantially conflicting information about status or trends.
- SH = Known only from historical records. The element may no longer be present in Wisconsin, but there is not enough evidence to state this with certainty. The SH rank is used when an element's presence has not been documented in decades despite some searching and evidence of significant habitat loss or degradation, or when an element has been searched for unsuccessfully, but not thoroughly enough to presume that it is no longer present in Wisconsin.
- SX = Presumed to be extirpated from Wisconsin. Not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered.
State ranking of long-distance migrant animals
Ranking long distance aerial migrant animals presents special problems relating to the fact that their non-breeding status (rank) may be quite different from their breeding status, if any, in Wisconsin. In other words, the conservation needs of these taxa may vary between seasons. In order to present a less ambiguous picture of a migrant's status, it is necessary to specify whether the rank refers to the breeding (B) or non-breeding (N) status of the taxon in question. (e.g. S2B,S5N).