The CNDDB is a "natural heritage program" and is part of a nationwide network of similar programs overseen by NatureServe (formerly part of The Nature Conservancy). All natural heritage programs provide location and natural history information on special status plants, animals, and natural communities to the public, other agencies, and conservation organizations. The data help drive conservation decisions, aid in the environmental review of projects and land use changes, and provide baseline data helpful in recovering endangered species and for research projects.
The goal of the CNDDB is to provide the most current information available on the state's most imperiled elements of natural diversity and to provide tools to analyze these data. For more detailed information on the CNDDB, read this article from Fremontia, a publication of the California Native Plant Society. The CNDDB concentrates its work on areas with active NCCP/HCPs, and high priority areas identified by CDFW and other biologists. For example, the map here shows which counties received the most attention from CNDDB staff in 2015.
CNDDB data are available in a variety of ways. Take a look at our Maps and Data page for additional information. Also, view the relationship between the CNDDB and BIOS.
The primary method of access to the CNDDB data is via RareFind, which allows for complex querying and reporting by subscribers. RareFind 5 is an Internet-based application that eliminates the need for the user to download updated data every month.
For subscribers, the CNDDB spatial data can be downloaded as a shapefile or accessed via the BIOS Data Viewer. This Internet-based map viewer quickly and easily displays element occurrence information on a map background in a web browser. The BIOS Data Viewer also has some limited reporting and querying capabilities. Additionally, the Spotted Owl Observations dataset, which includes location and status information, is also available in the BIOS Data Viewer. The Spotted Owl Database is not integrated into the CNDDB (since the locations are not mapped as occurrences) due to the need to handle observation data differently in a regulatory environment.
Other products include hard copy overlays which fit over standard USGS 7.5' maps and depict the graphical information with a legend, and printed text reports which complement the overlays.
We also provide the free, web-based CNDDB QuickView Tool which shows information only to the 7.5' quadrangle or county level. The QuickView Tool will generate a list of taxa for a given area, but no details. Access to the detailed information is by subscription only.
A CNDDB subscription, now at $600 (and $400 to resubscribe annually) for all clients, includes all of the digital GIS data, and password-protected access to RareFind and the BIOS Data Viewer.
We work very hard to keep the CNDDB and the Spotted Owl Database as current and up-to-date as possible given our capabilities and resources. However, we cannot and do not portray the CNDDB as an exhaustive and comprehensive inventory of all rare species and natural communities statewide. Field verification for the presence or absence of sensitive species will always be an important obligation of our customers. Likewise, your contribution of data to the CNDDB is equally important to the maintenance of the CNDDB. Whenever possible, we request that data be submitted using our online field survey form along with a map with the rare populations or stands indicated.