Wisconsin natural heritage inventory working list
The Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) Working List comprises species known or suspected to be rare in the state, along with natural communities and geological features native to Wisconsin. It includes species legally designated as "endangered" or "threatened," as well as species in the advisory "special concern" category. The Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan identified the Species of Greatest Conservation needs of animals in these categories. This list is meant to be dynamic — it is updated as often as new information regarding species' biological status becomes available. The Natural Heritage Inventory Program welcomes your input on any aspect of the list and encourages you to report any observations. To learn more about the elements on the working list, please see the Endangered Resources biodiversity pages.
Rank and Status Definitions
- Federal Protection Status
Current federal protection status designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicating the biological status of a species in Wisconsin:
- LE = listed endangered
- LT = listed threatened
- PE = proposed for listed 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 need concentrated conservation actions, which vary depending on the health of the populations and the 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.
- State Protection Status
Protection category designated by the Wisconsin DNR:
- END = Endangered
- THR = Threatened
- SC = Special Concern — those species about which some problem of abundance or distribution is suspected but not yet proven. The main purpose of this category is to focus attention on certain species before they become threatened or endangered. The state and federal regulations regarding Special Concern species range from full protection to no protection. The current categories and their respective levels of protection are as follows:
- SC/P = protected wild animal (NR 10.02, Wis. Adm. Code)
- SC/N = no laws regulating the use, possession, or harvesting
- SC/H = take regulated by the establishment of open-closed seasons
- SC/FL = federally protected as endangered or threatened, but not so designated by WDNR
- SC/M = fully protected by federal and state laws under the Migratory Bird Act
- Global 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, 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 somewhat restricted range, relatively few populations or occurrences, recent and widespread declines, threats, or other factors.
- G4 - Apparently secure. At the reasonably low risk of extinction or elimination due to an extensive range and/or many populations or occurrences, but with possible cause for some concern due to recent local declines, threats, or other factors.
- G5 - Secure. At very low risk of 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) indicates 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 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 critical 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 sub-ranks composed of the letter "T" plus a number or letter. The definition of the second character of the sub-rank parallels that of the total global rank. (Examples: a rare subspecies of a rare species is ranked G1T1; a rare subspecies of a common species is ranked G5T1.)
- State Ranks
- S1 - Critically imperiled in Wisconsin due to a restricted range, few populations or occurrences, 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 somewhat 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 due to recent local 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) indicates any uncertainty regarding the element's status 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 substantially conflicting information about status or trends.
- SH - Known from only historical records. The element may no longer be present in Wisconsin, but there is insufficient 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 there is evidence of significant habitat loss or degradation, or when an element has been searched unsuccessfully but not thoroughly enough to presume that it is no longer present in Wisconsin.
- SX - Presumed to be extirpated from Wisconsin and not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and another 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 unique problems because their non-breeding status (rank) may differ significantly from their breeding status, if any, in Wisconsin. In other words, the conservation needs of these taxa may vary between seasons. To present a less ambiguous picture of a migrant's status, it is necessary to specify whether the rank refers to the taxon's breeding (B) or non-breeding (N) status. (e.g., S2B, S5N).