June 14, 2011
MADISON - State endangered resources officials have completed a comprehensive review of more than 3,000 plant and animal species found in Wisconsin and have published an updated list of natural communities native to Wisconsin.
The Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Inventory program updated the NHI Working List on June 1. The list is available online and is used by conservation groups, government agencies, corporations, academia, and the public-to make informed decisions about managing natural resources.
"Documenting the unique environmental and habitat needs of the studied species is crucial to evaluating any potential impacts to those species caused by human activities," said Laurie Osterndorf, director of the DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources. "This is a proactive way to conserve wildlife and natural places for future generations."
The NHI Working List identifies natural communities native to Wisconsin and includes species legally designated as "endangered" or "threatened" and in the advisory "special concern" category.
Special concern species are those about which some problem of abundance or distribution is suspected but not yet proven. This category is designed to focus conservation efforts on certain species before they become endangered or threatened hopefully heading off more expensive or restrictive regulatory actions.
State and national agencies, organizations, universities and naturalists throughout the state started the revision effort in early 2010. Changes or new information on a species' population condition, status and distribution were reviewed and new rankings assigned. Rankings indicate the relative condition of the species and its requisite habitat needs. More than 1,000 state ranks were revised through the process with 120 species being added to the special concern category but new information and finds removed 171 species from the list.
"The working list is meant to be a dynamic document that is updated as often as new information becomes available," says Osterndorf. "We welcome citizen input on any aspect of the list, as well as observations of these species and communities."
For more than 25 years, the Bureau of Endangered Resources has worked to conserve Wisconsin's biodiversity for present and future generations. The bureau's goals are to identify, protect and manage native plants, animals and natural communities from the very common to critically endangered and includes working with others to promote knowledge, appreciation and stewardship of Wisconsin's native species and ecosystems. The program relies on contributions for more than one-third of its budget. Gifts will be used to help preserve Wisconsin's priceless natural heritage and can be made via the tax-checkoff, by purchase of a license plate, and by direct donation.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Osterndorf, (608) 267-7552 or Julie Bleser, Natural Heritage Inventory Data Manager, (608) 266-7308