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Data Release Policy

Obtaining EO Location or Distribution Data from the NHNM Natural Heritage Information System (NM Biotics)

Our database contains sensitive information concerning the exact locations for Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive (TES) elements (e.g., species and communities) in New Mexico. Only employees of NHNM have direct access to data contained in NHNM NM Biotics. However, information and information products based on our data set are readily available to:

  • Management agencies
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Scientists and students
  • Land-owners
  • Other members of the public

Information requests are served subject to the needs of the requestor and the provisions of our formal data release policy. In general, we do not provide location data at a precision sufficient to find a given population (or element occurrence,"EO") unless the requestor has a management authority over that EO, owns the land for that EO or has a scientific need to locate that EO. We strive hard to work with information requestors to provide data that fulfills their needs and which is at the appropriate precision for their needs. We also strive hard to protect the interests of the TES elements and our data providers.

When particularly sensitive elements are included in a data set or when data are provided at a level of precision that sensitive elements might be located (e.g. 7.5'' quad level or below), the recipient must guarantee that the provided data will not and cannot be used to bring harm, either intentional or inadvertent, to any TES elements included in the data set. Written acknowledgement of this responsibility must be provided before such data are released.

For regular users, data-providers and management authorities, we seek to enter into a data use agreement or gain memorandum of understanding with the data user. This process facilitates the process of providing or exchanging data, optimizes the conservation value of the provided data and ensures that the provisions of our data sensitivity and data release policy are met.

Our current policy does not allow us to release data from White Sands Missle Range, Fort Bliss or any tribal lands in New Mexico without their written permission. For more information contact the NHNM Information Manager.


Limitations Inherent to NHNM EO Locational or Distributional Data

a) The quantity and quality of data collected by Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) is dependent on the research and observations of many individuals and organizations. In many cases, the original sources were herbarium or museum specimens, contract survey reports, and agency files. The NHNM is not routinely capable of detecting and correcting errors made by the original specimen collectors or report writers. Furthermore, NHNM staff have not conducted comprehensive or site-specific field surveys for the majority of TES elements in our database. We cannot, therefore, directly corroborate or guarantee the accuracy of the data in our database.
 
b) Many natural areas in New Mexico have never been thoroughly surveyed. Furthermore we cannot guarantee that we have included information into our database for all surveys that exist.
 
c) For these reasons, NHNM cannot and does not provide a definitive statement on the presence, absence, or condition of biological elements in any part of New Mexico. NHNM reports summarize the existing information known to NHNM at the time of the request regarding the biological elements or locations in question. They should never be regarded as final statements on the elements of areas being considered, nor should they be substituted for on-site surveys required for environmental assessments.