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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy



Appreciating All Living Resources that Sustain
Pennsylvania’s Environment

Caring for our region’s water, land and animal and plant life cannot be achieved without accurate and detailed information. The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) provides the tools to help municipalities make informed decisions and protect the resources that define Western Pennsylvania.

PNHP is a partnership between WPC, The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. A large portion of the program’s staff work out of WPC’s offices.

A key component of the program is the development of the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory, a database that stores all information collected in the field by PNHP science staff and merges it with data from approved sources throughout the state. The inventory is consulted regularly as part of the state’s environmental review system and is pivotal in the decision-making process within
government agencies. WPC and other conservation groups use this information to guide their conservation planning to ensure that their protection efforts are both efficient and effective. The County Natural Heritage Inventory Program has identified areas of high conservation significance in 61 counties and is now completing inventories for the remaining six Pennsylvania counties.

“The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program provides information about the living species that sustain the environment we live in,” said Jeff Wagner, Director of the Natural Heritage Program. “Erie Bluffs, the state’s newest state park, for example, represents a unique habitat and
set of species in Pennsylvania. Within it are dune, beach and sandplain communities that are specific to the Great Lakes region and rare in Pennsylvania. Our inventory work quantifies exactly what is on that site, which aids the PA Bureau of State Parks in their planning and helps put
Erie Bluffs on the average citizen’s radar. When we collect data, we want to use it to help people understand why this location and many others are so important.”

For more information, contact Jeff Wagner at 412-586- 2392 or at jwagner@paconserve.org.