How the information you submit will be used

Your observations help support biodiversity conservation efforts. The Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) reviews and may add the information you share into the official provincial record. Some agencies and researchers use this information to plan, protect and study Ontario’s natural heritage.

We collect the observer’s name and contact information as part of the observation record in compliance with the Ministry of Natural Resource Act.

Given the nature of this work, we are only able to collect data from those individuals who agree to all of the following:

  • The Government of Ontario may use your name and observations to inform the provincial record.
  • Ontario government staff may use your name and contact information to verify the observation.
  • Your name and observations (contained in the provincial record) may be accessed by non-government agencies, organizations, researchers, and individuals. Personal contact information will not be disclosed.

If you have any questions about the collection and use of your information, please contact the Natural Heritage Information Centre at 705-755-2159 or NHICrequests@ontario.ca.

Report on species of conservation concern

Species of conservation concern include species at risk as well as rare and rapidly declining species. We actively collect this information to track and communicate species conservation statuses in Ontario, Canada and across their global ranges.

View species of conservation concern (Excel) in Ontario.

Your observations are critical to the understanding of species biodiversity and conservation in Ontario.

There are many options available to submit observations, but please use only one method to prevent duplication of information. We frequently scan the biodiversity databases listed in this section to find observations we can use. If possible, take photographs of the plants or animals you are reporting on and submit them along with your observations.

To submit one observation:

Don’t use this method to send observations made while carrying out activities under regulation of the Endangered Species Act.

To submit multiple observations:

Tips to fill out observation reporting spreadsheets

  • Fill in all mandatory fields that are highlighted in yellow.
  • Fill in all additional fields if you have the information being requested.
  • Follow the instructions and examples under each field.

Report on wildlife concentration areas

Wildlife concentration areas are locations that regularly support groups of associated species during parts of their life cycles (such as during breeding or migrating). These species concentrations may occur seasonally, semi-annually or annually and occur in distinct, definable areas.

Examples include:

  • migratory shorebird and waterfowl concentration areas
  • colonial waterbird breeding sites
  • raptor winter concentration areas
  • bat nursery colonies

To report on wildlife concentration areas please email your observations the Natural Heritage Information Centre or mail them to:

Natural Heritage Information Centre
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
300 Water St., 2nd Floor North Tower
Peterborough, ON K9J 3C7

View currently tracked wildlife concentration areas (Excel)

Report on rare or exemplary plant communities

Plant communities or vegetation types are a recurring group of plants that have consistent compositions and structures. They grow and thrive in particular combinations of substrate, moisture, and landform.

Examples include:

  • dry tallgrass prairie
  • white cedar/goldthread-sphagnum swamp
  • cottonwood treed dune

To report on rare plant communities, please email your observations to the Natural Heritage Information Centre or mail them to:

Natural Heritage Information Centre
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
300 Water St., 2nd Floor North Tower
Peterborough, ON K9J 3C7

View plant communities currently tracked (Excel)

Report natural heritage areas

Natural heritage areas are recognized for their representation of landform and vegetation features, geology and diversity. They are also recognized for their special features, such as:

  • populations of species at risk and special habitats
  • ecological functions
  • hydrological functions
  • connections to other natural heritage areas.

We welcome new natural heritage area reports such as:

  • reports on key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • check sheets or inventories of parks and protected areas
  • evaluations of wetlands
  • inventories of Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs)
  • management plans
  • reports on private protected areas

Data associated with natural heritage areas in Ontario are stored at the Natural Heritage Information Centre. We rely on our partners’ assistance to keep our natural heritage areas information up-to-date.

Information we are interested in

Name of the area

If the natural heritage area does not have a pre-existing name, suggest one (don’t use someone’s personal name in the area’s name). For example, Morning Glow Swamp. If you don’t provide a name we will create one for tracking purposes.

Type of designation

For example, tell us if the area is a provincially significant wetland (PSW), an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), or a key biodiversity area (KBA).

Location and spatial information

We prefer Geographic information systems (GIS) data or spatial data (polygons or centre point coordinates). To include records in the database we need spatial information.

We accept historic reports that aren’t in digital format.

Information about the area’s significance

If available, include reports or documents which indicate the area’s significance (for example, a wetland evaluation).

Current protection status and protection year

Tell us if the area is protected, or when it became protected.

Please don’t include private or personal information in the record other than observer name and contact information.

To report on natural areas, please email your observations to the Natural Heritage Information Centre or mail them to:

Natural Heritage Information Centre
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
300 Water St., 2nd Floor North Tower
Peterborough, ON K9J 3C7