Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory

Rare Species Data

At the Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory, we maintain an integrated database management system containing comprehensive biological data on the plants, animals, and natural communities of Kansas.

Conservation status ranks have been assigned to all plants, all vertebrate animals, and select invertebrate animals. Site-specific location data is maintained for more than 400 taxa of rare plants and 238 species of rare animals, as well as for the 70 natural plant communities identified in the state.

We have been developing these databases for over 20 years and continue to add updated information as it becomes available. As a result, the KSNHI is a comprehensive source of both historical and current information on the biodiversity of Kansas. This information is a valuable resource that can be used to assist with project planning, environmental review, research, and conservation planning.

See Project-specific Data for additional datasets.

Information Available Here

Information available for download

Lists of the rare plants, animals, and natural communities for which we maintain site-specific information (our “Element Tracking” lists) are available here. Each species and natural community is assigned global and state conservation status ranks.

Explanation of Heritage Ranks and Status Codes

List of state and federal endangered species (as of January 9, 2014)

Three GIS datasets can be downloaded from the Kansas Biological Survey Geodata Catalog under the "Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory" tab on the left side of the page. These datasets are updated infrequently and should not be used for site-specific analyses. See 'Endangered Species Review' for details on how to make a data request for environmental review.

  • Rare species: Locations of plants and animals that are endangered, threatened, or rare in the state. Points are displayed as polygons with a radius of one mile.
  • Natural communities: Parcels of high-quality native vegetation such as tallgrass prairies, oak-hickory forests, and wetlands. Locations are displayed at the spatial resolution of the PLSS section.
  • Protected areas (GAP Stewardship): Boundaries of properties in public or institutional ownership that contain ecological resources that merit some level of protection

Web Mapping Application

The Kansas Natural Resource Planner is an interactive mapping website designed to assist in the planning of large-scale projects so that Kansas can benefit from development of its resources while protecting sensitive wildlife and wildlife habitat. The mapping application combines relevant natural resource and infrastructure data in an integrated mapping environment to help users make informed decisions.

Making a Data Request

Species lists and 3 GIS datasets are available for download free of charge. Other information may be obtained by contacting Jennifer Delisle, KSHNI Information Manager, at jdelisle@ku.edu.

For site-specific project reviews, please describe the type of information needed and provide the following details:

  1. Your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and professional affiliation.
  2. The purpose for which the information is needed (e.g., environmental assessment, management plan).
  3. A brief description of the nature of the project (e.g., pipeline, city park, cellular tower).
  4. Legal description (section, township, range) of the project site.
    Current landuse of the project area (cropland, urban, pasture (native vs. tame)).
  5. A GIS data layer or photocopy of a 7.5 minute U.S.G.S. topographical map indicating the exact project boundaries.

Fees are charged to cover the cost of providing data services. Charges are based on a rate of $40.00 per hour for staff time, plus $0.50 per record and a $20.00 computer access fee. If requested, a cost estimate will be provided to the project sponsor prior to beginning work on a major data request. KSNHI reserves the right to waive the fee if it takes less than one hour to respond to a request. KSNHI also reserves the right to waive or reduce the fee for agencies of the State of Kansas. Data requests are processed in the order in which they are received with an average turn-around time of 1 - 2 weeks. A Data Use Agreement must be signed prior to data delivery.

The entire rare species database can be accessed through an annual subscription. A Data Use Agreement must be signed prior to distribution of the data. The annual fee for this subscription is $6000.

Endangered Species Review

The Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory routinely reviews proposed development projects for impacts to threatened and endangered species and other sensitive resources. However, we do not have regulatory authority for species listed under state or federal endangered species acts.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism administers regulations pertaining to state listed species and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (in Manhattan, KS at 785-539-3474) has regulatory authority for federally listed species.

Please see 'Requesting Data' for information on how to request a project review from the KSNHI.

Contributing to the Database

The databases maintained by the KSNHI are a dynamic resource. The quality and usefulness of the data are improved by the addition of new information obtained from field studies across the state.

Individuals with information on the species listed on our Element Tracking lists are invited to contribute to the databases by completing the rare animal and rare plant reporting forms or by contacting us directly. This information will be used to improve our knowledge and protection of the state’s rare resources.

Downloadable rare species reporting forms

Rare Animal Reporting Form

Rare Plant Reporting Form