The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program begins all its conservation efforts with actual observations of vulnerable species and priority natural communities. These observations come from a wide variety of sources--university researchers, local naturalists, consultants, NHESP staff, survey volunteers, and the general public-which is why thorough documentation is necessary for inclusion into our database. NHESP biologists evaluate every record submitted to the Program for possible inclusion in the database. Once accepted and entered into the system, each record builds on the ones that have come before. With over 21,000 current records in the system, a statewide picture begins to unfold of the densities and distributions of various MESA-listed species and exemplary natural communities across the Commonwealth. This information can give us clues into habitat utilization, limiting features on the landscape, and changes to historic range extents. Observations submitted to NHESP are used for:
- Data Management
- Endangered Species Regulation
- Species Recovery and Ecological Restoration of Key Habitats
- Land Protection
Reporting observations of state-listed species, natural communities, or other species of conservation concern is critical for the continued success of NHESP's conservation efforts. As a small organization, our staff depend on the assistance of professionals and the general public to help us maintain the highest quality data in our database. Report your observations today!
NHESP Species Observation Forms
The Vernal Pool and Rare Species Information System (VPRS) is a web-based mapping and data submittal application that provides users with a way to submit rare species observation reports and vernal pool certification forms to NHESP electronically. The VPRS System allows you to complete an entire form (NHESP Plant or Animal Observation Form, Vernal Pool Certification Form) online, including mapping the location and the ability to upload photos or other associated documents.
The paper forms are still available as well. To report species observations, please fill out, sign, and submit a NHESP Animal or Plant Observation Form. Please include with your form(s) a copy of an appropriate map, with the location of the observation marked as precisely as possible, and any additional documentation such as photographs, digital images, etc. Topographic maps can be printed from websites such as mytopo.com, street maps and aerial images can be accessed through various online sites, such as Google Maps.
To print PDF documents, you'll need a free pdf reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader .
NHESP Animal Observation Form (99 kb)
NHESP Plant Observation Form (105 kb)
Observations received and accepted by NHESP will update the online Rare Species by Town viewer on a weekly basis.
PLEASE NOTE: In making a NHESP Species Observation Form available for use by the public, the NHESP does not authorize or condone entry onto private property without the owner's knowledge and permission. The unlawful trespass onto private property may subject a trespasser to the criminal or civil sanctions available under the law. For these reasons, the NHESP strongly recommends that the permission of the landowner be obtained prior to entering private property to collect information for this form. It is the sole responsibility of each person collecting information for this form to ensure that their activities comply with the law.