The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP), is a member of NatureServe, an international network of natural heritage programs that gather and provide information on the location and status of important ecological resources (plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, natural communities and geologic features). PNHP information can be used to guide conservation work and land-use planning, ensuring the maximum conservation benefit with the minimum cost. Under this umbrella falls the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory database.
The Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory Environmental Review searches for potential impacts to threatened, endangered, special concern species and special concern resources in PA. Anyone including property owners, consultants, project planners and PA DEP or PA CCD staff can access the tool for PNDI project screening on-line.
A PNDI ER Tool web-site inquiry generates on-line search results concerning the potential impacts of a project to special concern species and resources. Four government agencies have jurisdiction over the protection of these resources:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Federally listed, proposed, and candidate species
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
PA state-listed plants, natural communities, terrestrial invertebrates and geological features
During instances when the PNDI search indicates potential impacts, early consultation with the proper special concern species or resource jurisdictional agencies (preferably prior to plan development) is crucial. Early consultation not only minimizes associated delays and cost, but also facilitates the integration of more effective conservation measures into project planning.