We Love Maps
At FracTracker, you could say that we are a bit obsessed about maps and data. The amazing map below was created and is updated by the PA Natural Heritage Program (PNHP). While this is a recurring project for PNHP, with the increase in shale gas activity in recent years it is ever more important to protect and document changes to sensitive ecosystems.
Important Natural Heritage Areas
By clicking on the map, you will be taken to the Heritage Program’s site where you can search the map by county, watershed, or an address to learn more about the protected areas near you. On this page you can learn about the species of special concern such as the Copperhead, the Bog Turtle, and Northern Cricket Frog.
About the Inventory
The County Natural Heritage Inventory is a cooperative program undertaken by the PNHP partnership. The County Natural Heritage Inventories (CNHI) have been systematic studies of the critical biological resources of the state, county by county. The primary focus of CNHIs has been on species of concern: those plants, animals, natural communities, and habitats most at risk of extinction at the global or local level. These projects are designed to identify, map and discus areas that support species of concern, exemplary natural communities and broad expanses of intact natural ecosystems that support components of Pennsylvania’s native species biodiversity. These areas are prioritized based upon their ecological qualities and provided with recommendations regarding their management and protection.
These studies were conceived as tools to assist in planning to avoid the accidental destruction of habitats supporting species of concern at both the county and municipal levels and have been used effectively in that capacity. CNHIs have been incorporated into comprehensive plans, consulted to plan development projects, and utilized by conservation organizations to prioritize their work. Additionally, these studies have been used to help in the development of recreational amenities, promotion of tourism industries and assistance in community development. CNHIs have also been a primary source for much of the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory permit review data. CNHIs can actually streamline economic and infrastructure developments by providing information on sensitive environmental features early in the planning process when adjustments can be made at little cost or delay.
The County Natural Heritage Inventory is a planning tool, and is not intended to be used as a substitute for environmental review. For more information, view the Statewide CNHI fact sheet.