In 1972, the Missouri General Assembly passed an Act (Section 252.240 RSMo.) charging MDC with establishing a list of endangered species and providing protection for them. Section 4.111 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri regulates these species.
In 1981, the Nature Conservancy, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) created the Missouri Natural Heritage Program (MONHP) to identify species and natural communities of conservation concern in Missouri.
Since 1983, the MONHP has been part of MDC, where it continues its strong commitment to conserving rare and endangered plants and animals and high-quality natural communities.
Scope of Data
The MONHP receives biological data from the Missouri Natural Features Inventory, field biologists, universities, scientific literature, herbaria and other individuals and organizations. This information provides an understanding of the abundance, distribution, condition and conservation needs of these sensitive elements. There are currently more than 18,000 element occurrence records of more than 800 sensitive species and natural community types in Missouri.
Species and natural communities are evaluated and ranked on the basis of their global and statewide status. These ranks are revised as new information becomes available; changes in ranking can be the result of changes in species populations or in changes in our knowledge of the species.
The data is managed with Biotics, a geographic information system-based software from NatureServe. Through NatureServe, MONHP is part of an international network of biological and ecological databases.
The Missouri Natural Heritage Program (MONHP) identifies species and natural communities of conservation concern in each Missouri county. You can use this database to get accurate and current information for conservation planning, environmental review, scientific research, land acquisition and planning for economic development.