Photo © Sam Stukel

Natural Heritage Program

The South Dakota Natural Heritage Program is a member of NatureServe, an international network of biological inventories known as natural heritage programs or conservation data centers that operate in all fifty U.S. states, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. An important tool is the South Dakota Natural Heritage Database, a system that allows locations and related information on rare species to be entered and shared for environmental review and conservation purposes. Lists of rare, unique or vulnerable plants, animals and biological communities are maintained by each heritage program.

Rare Species Reporting and Documentation

Do you know of natural habitat in South Dakota that Prairie Loosetrife Photo by Sam Stukelsupports rare, threatened or endangered species or a location of a rare plant or animal species? Documentation of any report of rare, threatened or endangered species is extremely important. 

The reporter should support the report with photographs, specimens (if specimens can be legally and ethically taken), written descriptions describing identification characteristics, or past experience with the species. Location, habitat, and any other pertinent biological information should also be recorded. Reports should be sent to staff of the South Dakota Natural Heritage Program. Sightings of migratory birds do not need to be reported with the exception of Whooping Cranes, Eskimo Curlews, and Mountain Plovers. Report wintering concentrations of Bald Eagles and large annual concentrations of migratory shorebirds.