Terms & Conditions


When using data provided by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program (NCNHP), you acknowledge that you have read and agree to these Terms and Conditions of use:

  1. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program provides data for the purposes of research, education, environmental review, assessment, and project planning, including screening for potential impacts to natural heritage resources, as described in N.C.G.S. 143B 135.256. By indicating your agreement to the Terms and Conditions of Use, you warrant that you will not use NCNHP data for any other purpose.

  2. The NCNHP reserves the right to enhance, modify, or alter online access to NCNHP data, at any time, without notice. The NCNHP reserves the right to suspend or terminate Client’s online access to NCNHP data services in the event Client violates any of these Terms and Conditions of Use or violates any of the terms or conditions of any contract with which these Terms and Conditions of Use are associated.

  3. When a project is submitted for environmental review, the proposed project boundary is based on the submitted project area.  If the project area, location, or type of project changes, the project should be resubmitted to receive updated information for the revised project.  If additional information becomes available, the review may need to be reconsidered.  The NCNHP recommends that projects be resubmitted for review if one year has passed since the most recent review; the review generated from the Natural Heritage Data Explorer (NHDE) website will expire after one year.

  4. The Natural Heritage website maintains a record of each environmental review project submitted by the Client, as well as contact information for the Client.  This information is maintained for internal tracking purposes.  Information collected in this application will not be shared outside of the NCNHP unless requested to share in compliance with N.C.G.S 132-1(b). Client will be notified if the NCNHP is requested to share environmental review information collected through the NHDE.

  5. The data provided by the NCNHP are intended for use only within the Client organization. Precise locational information shall not be shared or distributed outside of the organization.  If individuals outside the Client organization ask for these data, they should be referred to the NCNHP.  Site-specific locational information should not be provided to third parties, published, or otherwise distributed in any way without written permission by the NCNHP.

  6. NCNHP data require some understanding of NCNHP methods and definitions for proper use and analysis.  NCNHP staff is available to advise all data users regarding the technical aspects of these data.  The NCNHP encourages all Clients who wish to submit projects for environmental review and/or access GIS (Geographic Information System) shapefiles to receive data training. In organizations with multiple users, the Client organization’s administrator is responsible for ensuring that all users understand how to use and interpret the data. 

  7. If the data provided are used in reports, papers, maps, or other publications, the NCNHP must be cited as the source, and the data date must be included in the citation.  The NCNHP shall be notified if its data are used in publications. Researchers shall submit to NCNHP copies of final reports or publications resulting from research that used NCNHP data (including element occurrence records, natural areas reports, dedicated nature preserves, or registered heritage areas). For subscribers to GIS data, the DATA_DATE attribute shows the date the data were exported from the NCNHP database. Examples:

    1. If data are accessed via the website, the citation shall be:
      North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. <year>. Natural Heritage Data Explorer [web application].  NCDNCR, Raleigh, NC.  Available at www.ncnhp.org.  (Accessed: <date>).

    2. If GIS data are cited, the citation shall be:
      North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. <data year>.  Geographic Information System (GIS) data. NCDNCR, Raleigh, NC.  Available at www.ncnhp.org. (Accessed: <data_date>).

  8. Because some rare species are subject to poaching or other forms of exploitation, locational information about them is sensitive.  The Client must take reasonable precautions to ensure the security of sensitive data and to avoid the unnecessary release of precise locations of element occurrences.  Such precautions include, but are not limited to, obscuring the location on maps or in text, or not labeling sensitive species or significant natural features on maps.  Locations of sensitive species shall not be disclosed in public documents or meetings without explicit permission from NCNHP and appropriate regulatory agencies.  For subscribers to the GIS data, the DATA_SENS attribute in the Natural Heritage Element Occurrences (NHEO) dataset indicates which species are considered “data sensitive.” Additional information can be found in the corresponding metadata document for each NCNHP dataset.

  9. The NCNHP database is dynamic; records are added, deleted, and changed as new information becomes available. Consequently, the NCNHP strongly advises using the most recent data available.  NCNHP online data and GIS data are updated quarterly in January, April, July, and October each year.  We recommend that data users contact the NCNHP for data updates as needed. 

  10. Although NCNHP data may not show records for rare species within a project area, it does not necessarily mean that they are not present; it may simply mean that the area has not been surveyed or that records have not been reported to the NCNHP.  The use of NCNHP data shall not be substituted for actual field surveys, particularly if the project area contains suitable habitat for rare species.  Conversely, records for rare species may not mean the species is present at a particular mapped location if the record is of low or very low spatial accuracy or is outdated.  Attributes of the data should be considered. 

  11. The NCNHP makes no warranties as to the completeness and accuracy of the data presented.  The accuracy and completeness of NCNHP data frequently depends on the date and purpose of the survey, as well as the ability to obtain landowner permission to conduct field surveys.
    Conditions on the ground should be verified before any land use decisions are made based on NCNHP data.  Written permission should be obtained from all appropriate landowners before conducting field surveys.  If field surveys involve collection of biological specimens, written permission of the land owner and state or federal collecting permits may be required.

  12. The NCNHP actively solicits and encourages corrections, updates, or new observations (including photographs), as well as comments, on any data we provide.  If field surveys reveal new observations of rare species or the continued presence of known occurrences, the NCNHP would appreciate receiving that information.  Survey forms that describe the data useful for documenting occurrences of rare plants and animals are available on the NCNHP website at: http://www.ncnhp.org/web/nhp/contribute-to-nhp-database.

NOTE:  The NCNHP may revise these terms periodically.  When changes to terms are made, you will be required to review and re-accept the terms when you request data or use the NHDE. 

You must Accept these Terms and Conditions of Use in order to use or receive North Carolina Natural Heritage data.  

 I have read and understand the terms of this Data Use Agreement, and will ensure the data are used according to the terms of the Agreement.  This agreement may be renewed, if needed, at the end of its effective period, subject to approval by the NCNHP.