Since the introduction of the Natural Areas Plan in 1991, SEWRPC has been systematically cataloging known locations of all vascular plant species (i.e., ferns, conifers, and flowering plants) that occur within the seven-county Region. As a result of these efforts, up-to-date, detailed range maps have been prepared for all of these 1,813 species.
Many atlases of plant species locations rely almost exclusively on collected specimens (e.g., Wisconsin and Freckmann Herbarium websites). For this project, it was determined that it would be more informative to map all known locations of species, whether collected or not. The rationale behind this is the enormous amount of data collected from field surveys. For example, Commission biologists, during the course of their routine wetland delineations, typically visit at least three sites in one day. Each site-visit results in perhaps 50 or more species for a particular location. Collecting even more than a few specimens at each site would be impractical. However, using maps of species locations based solely on collections would mean that a vast amount of data would be ignored.
Species in this report are mapped by U.S. Public Land Survey section, with the following exceptions: If a historical record could not be located to the section level of detail, then a broader area (several sections, a township, or even a county) was mapped as a generalized area. Also, for species designated as “Endangered” or “Threatened” by the Bureau of Endangered Resources of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, only the township location was indicated to prevent exploitation of rare species.
All available sources on species information have been utilized in the compilation of these range maps, including SEWRPC field surveys (both in conjunction with the Natural Areas Plan and Amendment and lists from wetland and environmental corridor delineations); herbarium specimens; UW-Madison Herbarium and UW-Stevens Point Herbarium internet sites; published and unpublished species lists; knowledgeable local and regional botanists; files of the Wisconsin Bureau of Endangered Resources; and The Flora of the Chicago Region (1994) by Swink and Wilhelm.
For a large number of species, individual designations are included:
- E: State-designated endangered species, defined as any species native to the State of Wisconsin whose continued existence as a viable component of the State’s wild plants as determined by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, on the basis of scientific evidence, to be in jeopardy.
- T: State-designated threatened species, defined as any species of wild plants native to the State of Wisconsin which appear likely, within the foreseeable future and on the basis of scientific evidence, to become endangered.
- SC: State-designated special concern species, defined as any native species within the State of Wisconsin about which some problem of abundance or distribution is suspected, but not yet demonstrated. This designation is an informational, non-legal category designed to focus attention on certain species before they become endangered or threatened.
- U: Commission-designated Regionally-uncommon species, referring to species which, although with perhaps relatively extensive and apparently stable statewide populations, may still be of high concern on a regional level, and whose status warrants monitoring.
- A: Alien species, referring to those species not considered to be native to the State of Wisconsin.
Search for Maps
Search for plant species maps either by entering all or a portion of the species name in the keyword search, or alphabetically by selecting a letter below to see a list of species that begin with that character. Click on the species name to open the map.