CNDDB News Blog

  • March 5, 2019

As we hit the ground running for 2019, it’s nice to reflect back on the past year to see how far we’ve come. We’d like to share with all of you some of our proud accomplishments of 2018, as well as what we will strive to work towards in the coming year.

2018 updates by county

2018 accomplishments

  • 3,900 new occurrences mapped
  • 3,200 occurrences updated
  • 94,000 occurrences in CNDDB (Will we reach 100,000 in 2020?)
  • 230,000 total source records
    • 16,000 sources added (5,000 records added through the Online Field Survey Form)
    • 12,500 sources processed
    • From January 2018 through January 2019, botany reduced their data backlog by 20%

Spotted Owl Observations Database:

  • 12,000 spotted owl records (7,000+ CSO and 5,000+ NSO) added
  • 1,500 spotted owl sites updated
  • 400 activity centers updated
  • 175,000 total spotted owl records
  • 1,000 barred owl records added to the Barred Owl Observations Database


  • Provided 10 training classes for 114 students across the state
  • Reinvigorated our CNDDB iNaturalist Project (link opens in new windowJoin us!)
  • Continued work on the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and golden eagle datasets in conjunction with the Wildlife Branch

Our goals for the future

  • Improve communication with our users, starting with regularly updating this blog to keep people informed
  • Identifying ways to improve our efficiency and distribution of data to users
  • Exploring ways to better utilize data from citizen science sites such as iNaturalist, Calflora, and eBird

We will continue to build a high-quality database for environmental planners and researchers to use for the purpose of protecting California’s rarest natural resources. That said, we can't do it without your help! Now is the perfect time to link opens in new windowsubmit your 2018 data. And as always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any suggestions. Wishing everyone a wonderful 2019.

Categories: Yearly review
  • February 8, 2019

Happy (belated) New Year! One of our resolutions is to work on improving our outreach to users, whether data submitters, subscribers, or the general public. As such, we will be using the CNDDB News blog to share more information about who we are and what we do.

For starters, here’s a summary for January 2019:

Number of Element Occurrences in Current Distribution: 92,053
Number of Element Occurrences Added Since Last Distribution: 432
Number of Source Documents Added: 1,855

And here are some of the species we’ve been working on:


  • Ayenia compacta (California ayenia)
  • Cascadia nuttallii (Nuttall's saxifrage)
  • Cirsium fontinale var. obispoense (San Luis Obispo fountain thistle)
  • Cryptantha crymophila (subalpine cryptantha)
  • Dudleya abramsii ssp. setchellii (Santa Clara Valley dudleya)
  • Ferocactus viridescens (San Diego barrel cactus)
  • Geraea viscida (sticky geraea)
  • Lycium exsertum (Arizona desert-thorn)
  • Oreonana vestita (woolly mountain-parsley)
  • Pedicularis dudleyi (Dudley's lousewort)
  • Potentilla morefieldii (Morefield's cinquefoil)
  • Rhynchospora capitellata (brownish beaked-rush)
  • Salvia munzii (Munz's sage)
  • Streptanthus campestris (southern jewelflower)


  • Anniella spp. (legless lizards)
  • Cottus klamathensis klamathensis (Upper Klamath marbled sculpin)
  • Dipodomys venustus (Narrow-faced kangaroo rat)
  • Rana boylii (foothill yellow-legged frog)
  • Spea hammondii (western spadefoot)

Please check back regularly for more updates!

Categories: Monthly Updates
  • July 31, 2018

We have recently stopped including the point spatial data with our monthly GIS data package. The primary reason for this change is that the point data are often misinterpreted as representing actual element locations or observations. In fact, the point layer simply represents the centroids of the Element Occurrence (EO) polygons, and is intended to only be used when displaying CNDDB data on small-scale maps (i.e., maps that are zoomed out to show large areas). Furthermore, the polygons we create are not actually point observations, but instead reflect summary records for a given species (element) at a given location, and the size/shape of the polygons are based on the uncertainty of the location information associated with the records being summarized. This methodology has been employed by natural heritage programs for several decades, and the CNDDB bases our mapping standards on this Element Occurrence model in order to stay consistent with what other programs in the NatureServe network are doing (in other words, we want to make sure that an EO in California represents the same thing as an EO elsewhere).

If anyone is interested in learning more, you can read about the Element Occurrence standard on NatureServe's Element Occurrence Data Standard web page. We have created a document that provides additional information, and includes instructions on how to generate a point shapefile using the CNDDB polygon layer if you have a need to do so: Creating Point Features from the CNDDB Spatial Data (PDF).

Categories: General