Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New PA Conservation Explorer Allows Efficient Planning to Avoid Impacts on Threatened and Endangered Species

Leafy White Orchid

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently announced that the department and its partners are launching PA Conservation Explorer to assist businesses, local governments, and citizens with conservation planning, and improve the process for environmental reviews for threatened and endangered species that are required during permitting for construction and other earth disturbing activities.

“A government that works efficiently makes it easier to evaluate the impact that projects will have on our threatened and endangered species so they can be avoided through the planning and permitting processes,” Dunn said. “For the first time, species habitat information will be available online, and applicants can submit projects electronically, replacing a cumbersome process that required paper submissions to four different agencies.”

PA Conservation Explorer replaces the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory Environmental Review Tool (PNDI). The new tool provides conservation information for planning purposes on biological diversity, protected lands, streams, and other natural resources. It also allows users to screen a project area for potential impacts to threatened, endangered, and special concern species once they register.

In Pennsylvania, examples of threatened and endangered species include the blue spotted salamander; Indiana bat; piping plover; bog turtle; and the leafy white orchid. The tool does not list specific locations for species, but instead shows the species habitat.

Use of the Conservation Explorer as a planning tool can be done without charge. There is a $40 convenience charge per project to use PA Conservation Explorer and get documentation for the permitting process. Users without access to a computer or who do not wish to use the convenience option may submit their project for review directly to each of the four jurisdictional agencies at no charge.

Jurisdictional agencies are: DCNR - plants; Pennsylvania Game Commission - birds and mammals; Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission - fish, reptiles and amphibians; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - federally-listed species.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s diversity of species and natural heritage and access PA Conservation Explorer visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak, DCNR 717-772-9101

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