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Georgia Rare Species and Natural Community Data

Rare Species Locations

Disclaimer for Use of Rare Species Location Data

Please keep in mind the limitations of our database. The data collected by the Nongame Conservation Section comes from a variety of sources, including museum and herbarium records, literature, and reports from individuals and organizations, as well as field surveys by our staff biologists. In most cases the information is not the result of a recent on-site survey by our staff. Many areas of Georgia have never been surveyed thoroughly.

The Nongame Conservation Section can only occasionally provide definitive information on the presence or absence of rare species in a given area. Our files are updated constantly as new information is received. Thus, information provided by our program represents the existing data in our files on the date indicated on these pages and should not be considered a final statement on the species or area under consideration.

Current Available Data

Please note: Range maps of special concern species are now available!

Known rare species and natural community EOs (element occurrences) generalized to the county, quarter quad, huc8 and huc10 level are provided here in several formats. These include clickable maps, kmz (compressed Google Earth files) and downloadable CSV spreadsheet/database tabular files. Also provided are the ESRI Shapefile GIS index files (overlay layers) used to generate the data. Please see the next section below for help with using these data sets.

CLICK ON THIS LINK to try our NEW ELEMENT LISTS "DRAFT" with configurable EO lists updated with data exported from Biotics March 2017 or later.

(The CVS files were updated  from our database on March 18, 2016. All other files were updated on December 27, 2014)

Help With Using Data Above

The following tutorials use the csv file, qq_eos.csv, and the shapefile index, qq.shp, from the above available quarter quad data. Procedures using the county and watershed data should be very similar to the procedures using quarter quad data demonstrated here. The tutorials attempt to demonstrate the following three GIS procedures using different methods and software but accomplishing the same end results.

  • Do analysis - Select quarter quad records from a map and export the associated EO attributes to a spreadsheet for further analysis and printing.
  • Make range map - Produce a range map of Bald Eagles in Georgia.
  • Create qq_eos shapefile - Create a shapefile of the quarter quad EO records (similar to one formerly available from this page).

GIS Software Used for Tutorials

  • ArcGIS - comprehensive, industry standard, GIS program produced by Esri; graphical user interface on Windows only.
  • QGIS  - free, full feature, easy to use GIS program available on Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
  • OGR (part of GDAL) - free, open source library of GIS vector data utilities available on Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.


Fewer EOs for a Given Location Over Time

Several people have noticed that rare species that previously were reported for certain counties, quarter quads or HUC watersheds are no longer reported for these areas in our currently provided data. This is primarily because newly revised boundaries of EOs, using better data, are almost always smaller when they don't have as much uncertainty distance added in. These revised EO boundaries will then intersect fewer counties, quarter quads or HUC watersheds than they did previously. To a smaller degree, attrition is due to misidentified specimens and taxonomic changes.

Attribute Columns for Rare Element Datasets Data was processed from original EO representations in Biotics Conservation Database using the Python API to the open source OGR Simple Features Library. Spatial filters were set on our EO Representation layer using polygon records from the overlay layers (County, Quarter Quad, HUC8 and HUC10). Selected records were added to a data table in Sqlite from which the web pages were generated. Provided shapefiles are projected to NAD83 UTM Zone 17N.

Detailed information about Natural Heritage data and methodology can be found on the NatureServe site at
Biotics5 (Web-Enabled Biodiversity Information Management System) and Conservation Tools - Standards and Methods

Formal metadata for Natural Heritage Network (NatureServe) element occurrence data is located at:

Difference Between Known and Potential Element Ranges:

These lists are for rare species and natural communities that are KNOWN to occur within a given area and for which we have records of the locations in our databases. They should not be confused with lists of POTENTIAL elements for a given area. Potential lists are distributed by our office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Potential elements lists include both those elements that are known to occur within a given area and those whose theoretical range intersects the area of interest and may show up within the region as more surveys are conducted.

Contact Information

Contact information for our staff can be found in the NatureServe Network Staff Directory.

Citation for Use of Georgia Rare Species and Natural Community Data

Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 2013. Nongame Conservation Section Biotics Database. Wildlife Resources Division, Social Circle.; Available at http://www.georgiawildlife.com (Accessed: <date>)

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