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Natural Heritage Inventory Public Portal

screenshot of the public portal mapping application

 

The Natural Heritage Inventory (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 on endangered resources (endangered, threatened and unique concern animals and plants; natural communities and other special natural features).

After completing the portal process, you will receive an Endangered Resources (ER) Preliminary Assessment, which will help guide your next steps concerning 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 review 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. A full ER review may be required if an assessment is deemed invalid.

Frequently asked questions

Do you have more questions about the portal? If so, we may have answered them below or in this Public Portal Webinar. If not, please get in touch with 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 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 NHI Public Portal search results are presented as 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 the 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 the following steps regarding 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 within the vicinity of the project area. Completing these follow-up actions will ensure that the project complies with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s.29.604, Wis. Stats [exit DNR]).

2. An ER Review is Required

Suppose the ER Preliminary Assessment states that an ER Review must ensure compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604, Wis. Stats.) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (16 USC ss 1531-43). In that case, one or more of the following situations apply:

  • The species recorded are state or federal threatened or endangered animals.
  • 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.
  • The project site overlaps the Karner Blue Butterfly High Potential Range.
  • The project overlaps the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee High Potential Zone.

Therefore, you should request an Endangered Resources Review. 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 recorded within the vicinity of the project area, and follow-up actions may be necessary.

3. An ER Review is Strongly Recommended

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

  • The species recorded are a 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 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 will provide recommended (voluntary) actions that could be taken during the project. The preliminary assessment can be submitted with the DNR permit applications and requests to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Resources Review Process.

4. An ER Review is Recommended

If the ER Preliminary Assessment states that an ER Review is recommended, one or more of the following situations apply:

  • The species recorded are a 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 will provide recommended (voluntary) actions that could be taken during the project. The preliminary assessment can be submitted with the DNR permit applications and requests to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Resources Review Process.

5. No Further Actions

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 Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization for No/Low Impact Activities (No/Low BITP/A) covers the project. This BITP/A covers projects that the DNR has determined will have no or minimal impact on endangered and threatened species in the state. Due to this coverage under the No/Low BITP/A, a formal review letter is unnecessary. No actions need to be taken to comply with state and/or federal endangered species laws, and any take that may result from the proposed project is permitted/authorized.

In these cases, the ER Preliminary Assessment can be submitted with other 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 listed (if any), you will ensure that you comply with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604, Wis. Stats).