Friday, September 22, 2023

DCNR Publishes Final List Of 82 Changes To PA Native Wild Plant Classification List

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published
notice in the September 23 PA Bulletin of final regulations making 82 changes to the Pennsylvania Native Wild Plant Classification List.

The 82 substantive changes include: 

-- 24 currently unclassified native wild plant species will be newly classified;

-- 28 currently classified native wild plant species will be reclassified, including 3 species whose scientific names are changing/being updated (technically these are shown as the ''old'' name being unclassified and the ''new'' name being classified); and

-- 30 currently classified native wild plant species will be unclassified.

Native wild plant species are those plant species that existed in this Commonwealth prior to European settlement. 

There are approximately 2,800 native wild plant species that currently exist or formerly existed in the Commonwealth. 

The Department classifies approximately 1/5 of these species because they are a conservation concern. The other 4/5 of these species are considered secure and thus not classified.

These changes will be incorporated into the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI). 

PNDI is a database that maintains the Department's list of native wild plant classifications, as well as native rare wildlife classifications from the Game Commission, the Fish and Boat Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

PNDI provides the most current, reliable and objective scientific information about ecological resources in this Commonwealth and it is used to help inform environmental decisions in this Commonwealth. 

The overwhelming majority of PNDI users use PNDI as part of the process of obtaining a DEP permit. 

DEP requires permit applicants to screen their land use projects through PNDI for potential impacts to threatened or endangered species to receive a DEP permit. 

Threatened and endangered plant species are thereby protected by DEP's permitting process.

Because this final-form rulemaking removes more species from classifications than it adds, there may be fewer classified plant species for prospective DEP permit applicants to account for when applying for a DEP permit. 

Depending on the project type, location and classified plant species in question, prospective DEP permit applicants may see no change in the amount of mitigation required to address impacts to threatened and endangered species in fulfilling permit requirements.

Read the entire PA Bulletin notice for more information.

Visit DCNR’s Rare, Threatened, Endangered Plants webpage and the interagency Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory website for more information.  Questions should be directed to Rebecca H. Bowen, Chief, DCNR Conservation Science and Ecological Resources Division, Bureau of Forestry, by calling (717) 787-3444 or send email to: or

Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

Visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation’s Events webpage and DCNR’s Calendar of Events for activities happening near you.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Photo: Bog Orchid, genus Platanthera, courtesy DCNR.)

Related Article:

-- PA Natural Heritage Program Spotlights Conservation Genetics; Rare Plant Mysteries; Be A Good Bee Collaborator; Old Growth Forest Field Work; Moth List Updates  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 22, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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