About ORBIC's Rare Species Data

INR's ORBIC maintains Oregon's most comprehensive database of rare, threatened and endangered species. This database includes site-specific information on the occurrences, biology, and status of over 2,000 species throughout Oregon. It includes the state's only database of natural vegetation, with descriptions and information on the occurrences and protected locations of all known ecosystem types. As part of the Natural Heritage Network overseen by Natureserve, ORBIC is able to share this data internationally.

ORBIC uses a spatial database called Biotics, the standard for NatureServe partners, that provides information to guide implementation of the Natural Heritage Plan, including the selection of natural areas for registration and dedication. It is also contracted to provide natural heritage and sensitive species information to state and federal agencies, and is accessed daily by public land managers, private developers, researchers and educators.


Electronic systems contain

  • More than 32,500 records of locations of over 1200 species of rare and endangered plants and animals (element occurrences). To see which species we track, check out the Rare Species Lists section of our website.
  • Status of over 900 vertebrate, 1300 invertebrate, 1400 vascular plant, 160 non-vascular plant, 60 alga, and 320 fungus taxa, as well as over 500 plant community types
  • Detailed descriptions of over 820 vertebrate, 50 invertebrate and 300 plant taxa, with ecoregional, county, and EMAP hexagon distributions for vertebrates


Potential questions our data can answer

  • What rare species are known to occur in a given area (county, watershed, legal description, physiographic province, etc.)?
  • Where are the known rare species occurrences located within or near my project?
  • What is its federal and state status?
  • What is the habitat for the rare species that I am interested in?
  • Where are all the known locations in Oregon for a given rare species?

If you are looking for other spatial data, INR provides public access to reliable and up-to-date spatial data that is not maintained by the State of Oregon's GEOHub (previously the Oregon Spatial Data Library). 

You can find other data resources on the Institute for Natural Resource's Data page.

Making a Rare Species Location Data Request 

Requests for precise rare species location data must be made in writing via email ([email protected]) or regular mail (see contact information below). The following information must be included:

  • Your contact information: name, business/organization name, mailing address, voice and fax telephone numbers, and e-mail address.
  • Type of data needed (PDF report only, or addition of spatial data and which format of spatial data you would like).
  • Locality information for your project. This could be a street address, coordinates, or legal description (i.e. Township-Range-Section), or a spatial layer (shapefile, geodatabase, or Google Earth file) of your area of interest for larger projects. You may also include a map of the project if you like.
  • Project or site name and explanation of how the information will be used.


Time Frame for Response

Data requests are processed in the order in which they are received. The response time is approximately 10 working days, although large or complex data requests may take longer. We may be able to process requests sooner if requested.


What is Included

A typical data request will result in a PDF database report of rare, threatened, and endangered species within two miles of the area of interest. All state or federally listed species are included, as well as any ORBIC List 1 or List 2 species, covering vertebrates, invertebrates, vascular and nonvascular plants, fungi, and marine algae. General locational information (TRS, centroid) is provided as a field in the report. Any population data or habitat information about the occurrence is also included.

View an example of a record. PDF icon datareportexample.pdf

Spatial data is not included in a typical data request, but is available as an additional service. If you are interested in acquiring spatial data in addition to the PDF printout, please make this clear in your request. Typically this adds about $40 to the total fee for the request due to the additional staff time needed to create the spatial export. A total fee estimate can be provided upon request.

If you request spatial data, please specify if you would like a shapefile or geodatabase file (provided in ArcGIS 10 format) or Google Earth file (KMZ).

View an example screenshot of the shapefile output available as an add-on service.PDF icon orbic-coverage-example.pdf



Fees are charged to cover the cost of providing data services. Exceptions can be made for academic research or agencies partnering with INR on projects. The minimum charge is $85.00. Charges are based on the rate of $115.00 per hour of staff time required, plus a $0.60 per record fee, and a $60.00 computer access fee. A fee estimate can be given prior to initiating a search. An invoice will be delivered with the product, and payment terms are Net 30.

We are able to accept checks or money orders as forms of payment. Electronic Funds Transfers to PSU can be set up for payments; please ask for details. Credit card payments can be arranged in advance if required for an additional fee.


Annual Subscriptions

If you have large-area projects or anticipate needing several data requests throughout the year, we have an annual data subscription available. Full-state coverage is provided for an annual subscription fee of $6000. Partial-state coverage can be negotiated for a reduced fee.


Contact Information

To make a data request by e-mail, please send the required information to our data request e-mail: [email protected]

Our mailing address is:

Oregon Biodiversity Information Center
Institute for Natural Resources / INR
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751

Please include the / INR on mailings as this is our campus mail code and is necessary for delivery of our mail from the general campus mailbox.

Data Limitations and Concerns

These data are dependent on the research and observations of many scientists and institutions, and reflects our current state of knowledge. Many areas have never been thoroughly surveyed, however, and the absence of data in any particular geographic area does not necessarily mean that species of concern are not present. These data should not be regarded as a substitute for on-site surveys required for environmental assessments.

ORBIC data contains sensitive information and access to the dataset is subject to our data use agreement

The ORBIC rare species dataset is not for public distribution or publication, in whole or part. This dataset is exempt from the Oregon Public Records Law (ORS 192.410 to 192.505) under ORS 192.501. Further detail can be found in ORS 192.345 Public records conditionally exempt from disclosure. The following public records are exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.311 to 192.478 unless the public interest requires disclosure in the particular instance: …. (13) Information developed pursuant to ORS 496.004, 496.172 and 498.026 or ORS 496.192 and 564.100, regarding the habitat, location or population of any threatened species or endangered species.