Conservation Science

Protecting Pennsylvania’s Plants and Animals

Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a longtime partner of the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. This program guides our conservation work and helps set the conservation agenda for the state.

PNHP staff sampling Northeastern bulrush populations, species at risk
Processing freshwater mussels, species at risk
Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program staff in the field.


PNHP was established in 1981 by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, WPC and The Nature Conservancy. After growing considerably, WPC assumed TNC’s responsibilities for the eastern part of the state in 2006. At the same time Pennsylvania’s wildlife and resource management agencies, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, joined the partnership. Today, PNHP serves as a primary resource for information on our state’s rare plants, animals and natural communities.

What We Do

Our goal is to provide scientific information, expertise and assistance to support the conservation of our state’s biological diversity. We visit places throughout the state to inventory and monitor rare species and natural communities. The information that we collect can help to conserve these species and communities and can also assist in tracking changes over time.

Our Data

We maintain a database called the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI). This database contains records of thousands of species and communities of special concern. This database helps agencies review development projects and helps conservation organizations make decisions about land management and acquisition. We share this information with other Natural Heritage Programs throughout North and South America. The information from PNDI can be found as part of the Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer tool.

PNHP Resources

We engage with and are funded by federal, state and private entities. The projects that we have undertaken over the years are numerous and the products of our work are substantial. You can take a deeper dive into our work on the PA DCNR website:

For More Information:

Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program
Rachel Carson State Office Building
5th Floor
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105


Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
800 Waterfront Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15222