Georgia Rare Species & Natural Community Data

Here you will find rare species and natural community data maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Section. Our protected species lists contains species protected at both the state and the federal level. Our special concern lists includes plants, animals, and natural communities that are federally and state protected and also species that are not legally protected but are considered of special conservation concern by our staff biologists. We maintain active records for these species and communities in our conservation databases.

Rare Species and Natural Community Data

Disclaimer for Use of Rare Species Location Data

Please keep in mind the limitations of our database. The data collected by the Wildlife 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 Wildlife 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

Georgia Rare Natural Element Data Portal

Please visit our new Georgia Rare Natural Element Data Portal. The latest rare species and natural community data can now be accessed from this data portal page. Included are rare species profiles, range maps, rarity ranks as well as state and federal protection statuses. Also include are lists of rare species by Georgia county, quarter quad, watershed, ecoregion and more.

Here is a link to a PDF copy of Georgia's Natural Communities and Associated Rare Plant and Animal Species: Thumbnail Accounts written by Linda Chafin and based on " Guide to the Natural Communities of Georgia," by Leslie Edwards, Jon Ambrose, and Katherine Kirkman, 2013, University of Georgia Press. This document summarizes terrestrial and aquatic natural communities within Georgia. The community classification system used here varies from the Ecological Classifications used by NatureServe in other parts of our website.

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.

Citation for Use of Georgia Rare Species and Natural Community Data

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

Requesting Information for Sites

Who Needs to Request More Information for Sites?

Not all projects should require a full review from our office. Small projects in urban areas, projects involving small modifications to an existing developed site and projects that will not disturb any natural habitats or aquatic resources may not need a full review. In these cases, users should be able to access the necessary information for special concern species and communities near the project area from our website by using the CountyQuarter QuadHUC8 Watershed and HUC10 Watershed lists. However, if there is potential habitat for species of concern on your site and those species are located within the quarter quad or quads nearby, you should request further information from our office. Large-scale projects, projects in previously undeveloped areas and projects that involve activities that may potentially disturb natural habitats or aquatic resources should be reviewed by this office. Please follow the instructions below for completing an information request.

Instructions for Submitting an Information Request

All site-specific requests for information on species and natural community occurrences should be sent with accompanying map(s) preferably by email. We do not recommend faxing. If sending letters electronically, please attach requests to an email in DOC or PDF format. Send them to environmental review coordinators, Anna Yellin and Laci Coleman via Please do not email attachments of zip files. Our email server will block any emails with zip attachments without notification to either party (even with the .zip extension renamed). If you need to send zip files, please use a public file sharing service like DropBox, or Google Docs (all free).

The letter should contain a brief description of the project and an explanation of the information that is being requested. The location of small to medium sites should be indicated on a copy of a USGS 7.5 minute (1:24,000 scale) quadrangle map. Preferably, larger projects such as large-scale road widening projects should be sent as an ESRI shapefile. (Don't forget to send the projection of your shapefile if a .prj file is not included. It is always a good idea to send metadata with GIS data.)

Unless otherwise specified, you will be sent a letter containing a list of all tracked elements in our databases on or within 3 miles of the project site. The approximate distance and direction from the site will be included. Staff recommendations concerning the project will also be included in the letter. Please allow four weeks for processing of site information requests. 

Mailing Address:
Anna Yellin or Laci Coleman
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Resources Conservation Center
2065 US Hwy 278 SE
Social Circle, GA 30025-4743

Phone: (770) 918-6411

Submitting Rare Species Data to Our Program

Our agency relies on information gathered from a variety of sources to facilitate conservation efforts. You may be able to help provide such information. Do you know the location of an exemplary or relatively undisturbed natural community? Do you have site information for a particular rare species? Once we receive your information, it will be verified and entered into our database. The information will be used to update species range maps, identify and develop recommendations for the protection of species that could be impacted by development, and for general conservation planning purposes.

Electronic Submission of Data

Providing rare taxa element occurrence (EO) data in a spreadsheet, database table or KML file can greatly speed up our work in converting it to an EO record (EOR) and getting it into our database. Electronic submission of data is especially helpful for large data sets.

Please use the Excel spreadsheet to submit your data, including data collected under a scientific collecting permit. Descriptions of each data field. Any rare species data reported in a scientific collecting permit report does not need to be reported separately to our program. In addition, data should be submitted at the end of the permit year after data quality control procedures have been completed. In some cases, we may ask for additional information to verify your data (e.g. a photograph of the specimen or habitat). 

For Bats Only

Submit scientific collecting permit report data for BATS electronically using this Excel spreadsheet. Also, please visit our Bat Survey Guidance Page for more information about current survey requirements in Georgia.

For Natural Community Data

We have also produced a rather detailed spreadsheet for submitting natural community data. This spreadsheet can be adapted for animal and plant EOs by eliminating the community columns, colored green.

Important Data Formatting Issues

The number-one thing to watch out for is to make sure that when the data is entered it strictly adheres to a consistent format. This is especially true for the date, scientific name, latitude and longitude field columns. You can use the data format of your choice for data entry, but when we convert the data into a format that will go into our database, consistency in data entry greatly simplifies the process. Examples of often encountered inconsistencies include latitude and longitude in differing formats such as digital degrees "e.g.: Lat 32.2354" and degrees minutes seconds "e.g.: Lat 32 27 13" in the same data set. Another common problem involves the use of DATUM. All latitude and longitude values should be entered with the same datum, either NAD27 or NAD83 but not mixed in the same data set.

Remember that UTM is not a projection by itself; it is a class of projections, and without specifying the zone, datum and map units, a unique projection is not defined. If you will be submitting your data in UTM coordinates please use only one zone, datum and map units for all records. Mixing two different projections such as UTM Zone 16 NAD83 and UTM Zone 17 NAD83 data in the same dataset complicates the conversion process and leads to errors.

To help reduce latitude and longitude inconsistency problems it is highly recommended that some kind of map be provided which shows the location of each new EOR. A GIS layer that the provider has prepared would also be fine as this layer can be easily checked for DATUM or other projection problems by the provider before it is sent to us and then again by us when we get it from them. If maps or shape files cannot be provided, please make sure that accurate and specific locality information is included so that we can verify locations.

With dates, the preferred format to use is year, month, day such as "2004-06-13" for June 13, 2004, but any consistently used format can be readily converted during the import process.

Sometimes users are confused about what constitutes an EO. EOs are usually places where organisms have been found occurring naturally or that are essential for the continuation of a viable population of a taxon. For example, with animals this could include breeding, nesting or feeding areas. EOs are usually NOT places where organisms are found accidentally.

Introduced populations are a special case and need to be indicated in data provided with the occurrence.

Many data providers have data (or wish to gather data) that represents collections or locations of individual organisms. Though these usually do not constitute an EO according to our strict definition, the data is just as valuable to us as we can convert it to the format we need. If the data provider would like to adhere more strictly to our data standards, including EO specifications or field/column definitions, they are available upon request.

If you prefer a hardcopy data sheet rather than excel, please use the plant data collection form or the animal data collection form.


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

Our address is:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources 
Wildlife Conservation Section 
Wildlife Resources Conservation Center 
2065 U.S. Hwy 278 SE 
Social Circle, GA 30025-4743