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Locality Assistance Program for Natural Heritage Conservation

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Species Highlight

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photo of elfin skimmer
Elfin skimmer

Program Mission & Goals

Through the 'Locality Assistance Program for Natural Heritage Conservation,' the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Natural Heritage (DCR-DNH) assists local conservation partners in fully utilizing natural heritage resource information as well as the consultative services we provide to ensure protection of natural heritage resources.

The Locality Assistance Program seeks to establish natural heritage resource information as part of fundamental locality decision-making criteria through tools such as:

  • project Review
  • project Sitings
  • comprehensive planning
  • zoning amendments
  • open space and green infrastructure planning, and
  • purchase and transfer of development rights (PDR/TDR) programs

Locality Liaisons

The DCR Locality Assistance Program for Natural Heritage Conservation is implemented by Locality Liaisons. Locality Liaisons serve as primary DCR-DNH points of contact for:

  • local governments
  • planning district commissions
  • land trusts and
  • other conservation partners

Locality Liaisons are available to provide presentations on the Locality Assistance Program, and Natural Heritage Data Explorer to interested localities and other conservation partners. They can also provide basic information on the Virginia ConservationVision. Each presentation is tailored to the specific organization and is followed by a discussion of the organization's needs.

Tools & Services

The Locality Assistance Program offers a suite of optional tools and services to localities and other local conservation partners. Locality Liaisons can provide assistance in selecting amongst the various options in order to tailor the program to local needs.

A full list of the tools and services available in the DCR Locality Assistance Program for Natural Heritage Conservation can be found here.

  • Natural Heritage Resource data in GIS form (shapefile) or access to the Natural Heritage Data Explorer (subscription required)
  • Virginia ConservationVision
  • Training for natural heritage data products
  • Language for comprehensive plans and other key planning documents
  • Project Review
  • Guidance for establishment of local policies to incorporate natural heritage resource data into project review and approval
  • Inventory of Natural Heritage Resources (fee charged)
  • photo of field zoologist inventorying for rare species Chris Hobson, NH field zoologist, inventorying for rare species.
  • Virginia Wetlands Catalog: The Virginia Wetlands Catalog: an inventory of wetlands and potential wetlands prioritized for conservation and restoration purposes by parcel, subwatershed, and wetland boundaries.

Data Subscriptions & Map of Locality Subscribers

Many localities and other conservation partners throughout Virginia have Natural Heritage Resource Data Subscriptions.
Montane Depression Wetland Community

The subscription provides users with data concerning natural heritage resources (rare, threatened and endangered species, significant natural communities, caves and karst features). Data is available in the form of a shapefile to integrate into an existing GIS, or by access to the Natural Heritage Data Explorer. Subscriptions are free to local governments and other non-profit organizations. A data license agreement is required. Subscriptions last one year, and quarterly updates are provided.

You can access our new Information services form to request services.

View a map of local governments that currently have data subscriptions to determine if localities in your area have natural heritage data to utilize in decision-making.

Contact Your Locality Liaison

photo of smooth coneflowerEchinacea laevigata - Smooth Coneflower

Please contact your Locality Liaison for additional information or to schedule a presentation for your locality or organization.

Alli Baird, Coastal Zone Locality Liaison
(804) 692-0984
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Natural Heritage
600 East Main Street; 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219


This project was funded in part by the Virginia Coastal Program at the Department of Environmental Quality through Grant NA08NOS4190466 task #7 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended.