Survey Protocols

Protocols for Conducting Surveys for Plant Species of Special Concern

The DCNR Survey Protocols are available as a single pdf document or in sections


The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DNCR) may request a botanical survey or habitat assessment be performed to investigate proposed project sites for PA threatened, endangered and species of special concern plants. This will be used to help DCNR determine whether or not a proposed project will remove or impact survey target species, evaluate the level of impact to the species of special concern habitat, and identify approaches to avoiding or minimizing project-related impacts to jurisdictional plants and their habitats.

The following protocols have been provided by DCNR as a means to enhance the quality of botanical surveys conducted, as well as to standardize the way in which project areas are surveyed and findings are documented and reported to DCNR for further review. DCNR has issued the following protocols so they may be used to guide surveyors in the field and clearly indicate the expectations of DCNR in relation to survey result reporting. The following protocols are split into four sections: 1) recommended preparation in advance of a Survey, 2) field protocols for conducting a Survey , 3) guidelines for documenting field results and report writing, and 4) Voucher specimen collection protocols.

Please also note that DCNR Wild Plant Management Permits are required for the collection of PA Endangered or PA Threatened Plant Species during the course of a botanical survey or scientific research project. A permit fee of $5 is required with each application, and Permits are valid for one year. Proceeds from this fee are placed in the Wild Resource Conservation Fund. Please see the PNHP species list for a complete list of PA Plants currently listed as extirpated, endangered, threatened, rare, and tentatively undetermined as well as those proposed. A Wild Plant Management Permit should also be obtained when conducting mitigation approved by DCNR to minimize impacts to Endangered or Threatened Plants as per PNDI correspondence with DCNR. Obtaining a Wild Plant Management Permit is recommended prior to conducting botanical studies in response to a PNDI review, but is not required. However, if any PA Threatened or Endangered Plants are found during a botanical survey, a Permit is required to collect voucher specimens of these species. Please contact DCNR, Bureau of Forestry, Ecological Services section at 717-425-5370 with any questions regarding these permits.

To apply for a Wild Plant Management Permit or to renew a permit please click on Wild Plant Management Permit Online Application