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Use the Public Portal
to complete an ER Preliminary Assessment.
Request a review
for proposed development activities, planning and land management projects.
Receive training
for DNR staff and those seeking NHI license agreements.
Conduct reviews
by becoming a Certified ER Reviewer.
Access NHI data
for research and planning purposes.
Contact information
For more information about the ER Review Program, please consult the following list:
ER Review staff contacts

Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) Public Portal

screenshot of the public portal mapping application

The NHI Public Portal is a free online mapping application for landowners planning on-the-ground projects (e.g., residential development, prescribed burn, utility maintenance, lake drawdown) to learn if their project may have impacts to endangered resources (endangered, threatened and special concern animals and plants; natural communities and other unique natural features).

After completing the portal process, you will receive an ER Preliminary Assessment, which will help guide your next steps in relation to endangered resources. Learn more about the assessment below.

Get started! Open the NHI Public Portal

Please note, the Public Portal was recently upgraded. There are now several types of responses that can be generated. Please carefully read your results.

DNR staff will be reviewing the ER Preliminary Assessments to verify the results provided by the Public Portal. ER Preliminary Assessments are only valid if the project habitat and waterway-related questions are answered accurately based on current site conditions. If an assessment is deemed invalid, a full ER review may be required.


Frequently asked questions

Do you have more questions about the portal? If so, we may have answered them below. If not, contact Endangered Resources Review staff by clicking the contact information link in the sidebar.

Why should I use the portal?

The NHI Public Portal is an online tool that provides information that is typically acquired through an Endangered Resources Review. The NHI Public Portal provides users with an instant response that will either provide:

  1. A list of follow-up actions based on the species and natural communities within the vicinity of the project area, or
  2. Information regarding whether or not a full Endangered Resources Review is necessary.

Completing the steps provided by the NHI Public Portal ensures compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s.29.604, Wis. Stats [exit DNR]). The results of the NHI Public Portal search are presented in the form of an ER Preliminary Assessment.

Who can use the portal?

The NHI Public Portal is available to anyone who owns or is an authorized representative of a property in Wisconsin.

What is an ER Preliminary Assessment and what do the results mean?

An ER Preliminary Assessment is a document provided to users who complete the NHI Public Portal process. This document contains a summary of all information entered, a map of the project area and the resulting determination of next steps in regard to endangered resources.

There are five types of results:

1. Result with follow-up actions

These responses will include any required or recommended follow-up actions for the species and/or natural communities that came up within the vicinity of the project area. Completion of these follow-up actions will ensure that the project is in compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s.29.604, Wis. Stats [exit DNR]).

2. Further actions are required and an ER Review is required.

If the ER Preliminary Assessment states that further actions are required to ensure compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604 Wis. Stats.) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (16 USC ss 1531-43). One or more of the following situations apply:

  • The species recorded are state or federal threatened or endangered animals.
  • The project site overlaps the Karner Blue Butterfly High Potential Range.
  • The project overlaps the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee High Potential Zone.
  • The species recorded are state threatened or endangered plants on public land.
  • The species recorded are federal threatened or endangered plants on federal land or involve federal funds or a federal permit.

Therefore you should request an Endangered Resources Review http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ERReview/Review.html. An ER Review is the mechanism to ensure compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604 Wis. Stats.) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (16 USC ss 1531-43). The ER Review will list the endangered resources that have been recorded within the vicinity of the project area and follow-up actions may be necessary.

3. Further actions are strongly recommended

If the ER Preliminary Assessment states that further actions are strongly recommended, one or more of the following situations apply and the species or record overlaps the project site:

  • The species recorded are special concern.
  • The records are from natural communities or other natural features.
  • The species recorded are threatened or endangered plants, but are not protected due to the project occurring on private land or due to another type of exemption (i.e. agriculture, utility, etc.).

You are strongly encouraged to request a full ER Review, although it is not required. If an Endangered Resources Review is requested for this project, it would provide recommended (voluntary) actions that could be taken during the course of the project. The preliminary assessment can be submitted with DNR permit applications and requests to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Resources Review Process.

4. Further actions are recommended

If the ER Preliminary Assessment states that further actions are recommended, one or more of the following situations apply:

  • The species recorded are special concern.
  • The records are from natural communities or other natural features.
  • The species recorded are threatened or endangered plants, but are not protected due to the project occurring on private land or due to another type of exemption (i.e. agriculture, utility, etc.).

You are encouraged to request a full ER Review, although it is not required. If an Endangered Resources Review is requested for this project, it would provide recommended (voluntary) actions that could be taken during the course of the project. The preliminary assessment can be submitted with DNR permit applications and requests to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Resources Review Process.

5. No further actions are needed

If the ER Preliminary Assessment states that no further actions are needed, one or more of the following situations apply:

  • No endangered resources are known to be present in the area
  • The project is covered by the Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization for No/Low Impact Activities (No/Low BITP/A). This BITP/A covers projects that the DNR has determined will have no impact or a minimal impact to endangered and threatened species in the state. Due to this coverage under the No/Low BITP/A, a formal review letter is not needed and there are no actions that need to be taken to comply with state and/or federal endangered species laws, any take that may result from the proposed project is permitted/authorized.

In these cases, the ER Preliminary Assessment can be submitted with DNR permit applications and requests to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Resources Review Process.

Why should I get an ER Preliminary Assessment?

By completing an ER Preliminary Assessment and following the next steps that are listed (if any), you will ensure that you are in compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604 Wis. Stats).


Last revised: Thursday June 06 2019