The New York Natural Heritage Program

Timothy Howard

Director of Science
New York Natural Heritage Program
Adjunct Assistant Professor
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
625 Broadway, Albany NY, 12233-4757
(518) 402-8945

Projects

New Data and Tools to Improve Energy Siting for Biodiversity Conservation; NYSERDA Project 20803

With support from NYSERDA, scientists from The Nature Conservancy, The New York Natural Heritage Program, and The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology are working together on a project to protect New York State’s biodiversity heritage while still advancing statewide energy development and policy goals. Using geographic information system (GIS) technology, the project will identify and map important ecological resources, such as sensitive habitats, large forest blocks, and migration routes. This will be the first aggregation of such data in New York and is expected to be useful to a variety of entities and will serve multiple functions, including helping decision makers balance environmental concerns with energy infrastructure siting.

PATHWAYS: Wildlife Habitat Connectivity in the Changing Climate of the Hudson Valley

Citation: Howard, T.G. and M.D. Schlesinger. 2012. PATHWAYS: Wildlife habitat connectivity in the changing climate of the Hudson Valley. New York Natural Heritage Program, Albany, New York. 143 pages.

This project, funded by State Wildlife Grants with match funding from the Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University, seeks to determine the current and potential future habitat connectivity for 25 Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Hudson Valley. Using advanced modeling techniques in a Geographic Information System, we use climatic, geological, and land cover data to determine how connected the landscape is for these 25 species, under current climatic conditions and with potential future changes in climate. Results from this are helping us understand priority locations for conservation in the Hudson Valley.

For more information about this project please go here.

New York State Freshwater Conservation Blueprint Project, Phases I and II: Freshwater Systems, Species, and Viability Metrics

Citation: White, E.L., J.J. Schmid, T.G. Howard, M.D. Schlesinger, and A.L. Feldmann. 2011. New York State freshwater conservation blueprint project, phases I and II: Freshwater systems, species, and viability metrics. New York Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy. Albany, NY. 85 pp. plus appendix.

The project goal was to develop GIS datasets that identify the locations and status of critical freshwater targets (habitats and species) in New York. The focus of the effort was rivers, streams, and lakes, and specific targets included freshwater and migratory fish, mussels, and other aquatic Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCNs) which may serve as indicators of river and stream health.

For more information about this project please go here.

Distribution maps for amphibians and reptiles at the edge of their range in New York State

Citation: Swift, L., J. T. Howard, 2010. Distribution maps for amphibians and reptiles at the edge of their range in New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program. Albany NY. 47 pages.

In this report we identify the herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) at the edge of their range in NYS. Of the 74 herpetofauna known to occur in New York, 28 are at the edge of their range in the state with an additional 7 having a limited but variable distribution. Continental range maps, where available, confirm this finding. Of the 35 edge-of-range species identified, two had a northern distribution pattern (pages 7-9), nine were southern (pages 10-19), 12 were southeastern (20-32), five were western (pages 33-38), and seven were considered variable (pages 39-46). The NYS Herpetological Database (approximately 90,000 records) provides observation records and allows us to present the statewide distributions in a way that provides perspective on movements of range edges that may have already occurred.

For more information about this project please go here.

Sandy Creeks Watershed Inventory and Landscape Analysis

Citation: Swift, L., J. Corser, R. Ring, J. Schmid, T. Howard, E. Spencer. 2011. Sandy Creeks Watershed Inventory and Landscape Analysis. A report prepared for the NYS Tug Hill Commission. New York Natural Heritage Program. Albany NY. 114 pages.

The purpose of this project was to provide the NYS Tug Hill Commission and its communities with a clearer picture of the biodiversity and ecological patterns of the 284,000-acre Sandy Creeks Watershed. We wished to help identify natural areas in the watershed that are vital to protecting the landscape character and biodiversity of the region including the relative ecological quality of subwatersheds.

For more information about this project please go here.