Map of Species By County or Watershed

With one click of the interactive maps, you’ll learn where federally listed rare, threatened and endangered (RTE) plant and animal species occur.  Discover what species are at-risk in your county or watershed.

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Conservation professionals and environmental enthusiasts find value in county/watershed maps and datasets.  Knowing where at-risk species reside is an important starting point for understanding regional conservation needs and priorities.

The county and watershed maps are based on NatureServe’s widely recognized data.  For over 40 years, the NatureServe Network has regularly assessed and documented scientific data for species and ecosystems in all 50 states, using core methodologies and standards.


NatureServe data is recognized as a standard for conservation science and biodiversity assessment.  What makes NatureServe unique is that they have established a standardized way of collecting field data, mapping biological features, assessing the condition of those mapped elements, and managing the information.  From Maryland to California, the NatureServe network assesses and documents scientific data for more than 70,000 species and 7,000 ecosystems using core methodologies.


Because biodiversity encompasses the variety of life at all levels, the methodology is designed to deal with both species and ecological communities, referred to collectively as “elements of biodiversity.”  The NatureServe network has gathered and organized data on over 100,000 such elements of biodiversity, including animals, plants, fungi, and terrestrial and freshwater communities.  Scientific names, local conservation status, basic biological and ecological characteristics, management requirements, and the location and condition of species populations and community occurrences are among the types of data collected.

About Natural Communities

A natural community is a combination of native plants and animals repeatedly occurring together in a particular natural environment that has experienced minimal human-caused disturbance or has recovered from that disturbance.

Certain plants consistently grow together in the same or similar environments because they share a preference or tolerance for such things as:

  • their position in the landscape,
  • the kind of soil, rock, or water in which they grow,
  • their water supply (how much? how often?),
  • protection from or exposure to sun, weather events, fire, and other natural processes.

Some plants can only grow in certain environments with other types of plants buffering or protecting them from direct sunlight or other features of the environment.

In each natural community, the plants, animals, geology, natural processes, water, and many other factors are related in somewhat predictable ways that allow us to classify and name these communities.

On the NatureServe website, learn about natural communities, their building blocks, and where in the broader landscape they are found.

Boulder Bridge Hike-with legend

Where others see “greenery,” ecologists see patterns.  They notice that some types of trees are more common on hilltops, while others are more common in floodplains.  They notice that a certain shrub tends to occur in the same settings as a certain tree.  They notice entire combinations of trees and shrubs that tend to occur together in specific physical settings—whether a rocky slope, a swampy depression, or a deep ravine.  Ecologists call these patterns of vegetation natural communities.

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