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MADISON – A new public portal will provide landowners planning on-the-ground work such as residential development, prescribed burns or utility maintenance an instant response regarding the potential impacts to endangered resources and next best steps.
“This resource is a great example of how the Department of Natural Resources continues to better serve our customers,” says DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp.
The Natural Heritage Inventory Public Portal is a free, online mapping application available to anyone who owns land or is an authorized representative of property in Wisconsin. The public portal allows individuals to complete an Endangered Resources Preliminary Assessment.
Previously, landowners had to complete a full Endangered Resources Review first to obtain recommendations. Now, the preliminary assessment provides an instant record and summary of the project, a map of the project area and determining results based on the impact to endangered resources. These results will indicate to a landowner if they need to continue by requesting an ER Review.
“The portal gives landowners a quick and easy way to discover what work they might have to do ahead of time to comply with laws,” says Stacy Rowe, DNR endangered resources energy review specialist. “We’re excited to offer the public a new tool to get results faster.”
If no endangered resources have been recorded within the project boundary, no further actions are required. If legally protected endangered resources are present, landowners will be instructed to request an Endangered Resources (ER) Review to ensure compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604 Wis. Stats.) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (16 USC ss 1531-43). Once completed, the ER Preliminary Assessment can be used in conjunction with the request for an Endangered Resources Review.
In addition to the public portal, the department also offers several tools to allow citizens to access rare species data. Citizens can use the tools to discover rare species that have been documented in each of Wisconsin’s counties as well as individual townships. Because these tools provide general information and do not include sensitive species, they cannot be substituted for endangered species reviews.
Landowners can access the public portal by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords “public portal.” People can also learn how to complete an assessment by watching a step-by-step video on the DNR website.