Landuse Planning

MNFI can provide GIS based information layers for use in land use planning. These layers are based on the MNFI database of threatened, rare and endangered species and high quality natural communities. These products are designed to provide land use planners with information about sensitive species and natural communities while recognizing the sensitivity of the information. Examples of these products include frequency counts of occurrences within an area, a probability layer to determine the likelihood of an area to contain a sensitive species, or determining the conservation value of an area. The products are customized for the needs and interests of the entity requesting them. Cost will vary with the complexity of the product.

Frequency Counts

County Frequencies

Frequency counts are counts of the number of occurrences occurring within a PLSS (section, quarter section, quarter-quarter section) political boundary. The counts are based on the known geographic extent of an occurrence. Consequently an occurrence is counted in each political that it occurs in. Counts at the PLSS section level are available for download. Counts at the quarter or quarter-quarter section level are available upon request. Cost for these frequency counts are $60 each (two hours labor).

Probability Layers


The probability layer represents the likelihood of encountering a sensitive species or natural community. It is based on known sightings, age of the record, the known extent of the sighting, and the habitat required for the species. The probability layer can be produced as a 30 X 30 meter resolution ArcInfo grid, or as an ArcView shapefile aggregated up to PLSS section, quarter section, or quarter-quarter section boundaries. This is an enhanced service and will incur a cost. Cost may vary by county but will be in the $2500 range.

Biodiversity Value Layer

Conservation Values

The conservation rank layer is a tool to evaluate the relative conservation values of different areas. An area's conservation value is based on the conservation ranks of the known occurrences in the area. Conservation ranks are based on variables such as the viability of the occurrence, the age of the occurrence, the global status of the species, and the state status of the species. This is an enhanced service and will incur a cost. Cost may vary by county but will be in the $2500 range.

Potential Conservation Areas

Potential Conservation Areas

Potential conservation areas (PCA's) are defined as places on the landscape dominated by native vegetation that have various levels of potential for harboring high quality natural areas and unique natural features. PCA's are identified using the most current digital land cover layer available. Sites are ranked based on seven criteria developed by MNFI: total size of site, size of core area, stream corridor presence, landscape connectivity, restorability of surrounding lands, and presence of rare species. PCA's can help prioritize sites for future field surveys, land conservation, and developing large scale open space systems of linked natural areas.

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