An analysis of endangered and threatened species has shown that national parks provide habitat suitable for about 600 listed plants and animals.
About the Data
Threatened and endangered species lists associated with National Park Service (NPS) units were assembled using three main approaches and data from publicly available resources.
The first method involved using an algorithm developed by Defenders of Wildlife to search U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Service documents. Specifically, the algorithm searched for NPS unit names within documents associated for each species, yielding a list of NPS units for each species. False positives were removed by using species maps provided on the Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) website.
Secondly, ArcMap was used to intersect USFWS critical habitat data for each species with NPS administrative boundaries to add species that were not included using the first method.
The third method involved reviewing supplementary lists of species that may overlap with a park. These lists came in raw format from NPS, and Defenders of Wildlife provided a list based on section 7 consultation data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. From these lists, USFWS ECOS species range data was intersected with NPS administrative boundaries to add species not included using the first two methods.
An internal and manual review was then conducted by NPCA staff of the final master list. All ESA listed species’ status, geographic range, and critical habitat information are dynamic, and periodic editing of data will occur as needed. This dataset is not a complete list of all species, with consideration toward highly sensitive species built into the methodology.
The protected plants and animals that call our national parks home do not recognize park boundaries. Wildlife that are non-sedentary may access parks for only a part of their life cycle, whether for foraging, mating or simply en route to access another protected area. This presents a challenge when attempting to assign species to an administrative park boundary. In some cases, wildlife may even call multiple national parks their home. The dataset offered here is therefore under periodic review for the most current and available science on species’ distribution and habitat range. Please contact us to offer any feedback that will improve accuracy of these data.