California Department of Fish and Wildlife



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Department of Fish & Wildlife
Biogeographic Data Branch

Physical Address:
1700 9th Street, 4th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811

Mailing Address:
1416 9th Street, Suite 1266
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 322-2493 • Email BDB

Submitting Data to the CNDDB


Data may be submitted to the CNDDB in a number of formats:

  • Online Field Survey Form
  • Field survey form (PDF) and maps
  • Digital data
  • Tabular lists of coordinate data
  • Other, such as herbarium collection data and reports

How data is submitted to the CNDDB will probably depend on the amount of data collected and the type of project being carried out. For example, if you have relatively few sightings or incidental observations, individual field survey forms may be the best method for submission. If systematic surveys are conducted over an entire field season resulting in large data sets stored in a database or GIS, the CNDDB would prefer electronic submission of the data in a database, spreadsheet, and/or GIS layer with the appropriate locational and biological information.

Field Survey Forms and Maps

[PDF]  CNDDB Field Survey Form   This PDF form can be filled out and then emailed or mailed as a hard copy.

[PDF]  General Instructions for Completing CNDDB Field Survey Form

[PDF]  Instructions for Reporting Coordinates to the CNDDB

[PDF]  General Information for Submitting Avian Detections to the CNDDB

Not all fields are required on the forms; however, we do need a map, preferably at the 1:24,000 scale, and/or complete coordinate information to map the data. "Complete" here means GPS data must include both the datum (NAD83, WGS84, or NAD27) and accuracy information. For information about datums and projections used by the CNDDB see our GIS/GPS Support Documents webpage.

In addition, the more information you provide on site condition, population viability, threats, etc., the better we can assign an accurate occurrence rank to the site which helps prioritize sites for protection.

If mailing field survey forms, mail to:

CNDDB - Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
1416 9th Street, Suite 1266
Sacramento, CA 95814

If emailing forms, email to:


Digital Data

Digital datasets are welcomed, however, there are requirements.

  1. Spatial information for each observation or location can be provided either as a shapefile, or as tabular geospatial coordinates in an Excel or standard DBF file. Data may be in either geographic (latitude/longitude) or projected format. Universal Transverse Mercator UTM with Zone; State Plane with Zone, or Albers are some examples of projected data. Also include the units in which the data were collected (meters, feet). With this information, we will convert the data to the State standard projection and datum: Teale Albers, NAD83. You may submit the data in any format; however, you must note the projection and datum with your submission.
  2. Attributes must accompany the spatial information. The minimum attributes consist of:
    • species name
    • unique, key field that links the spatial feature (point, polygon) to the corresponding attribute record
    • observer name and date of observation. We prefer, however, to receive more complete attribute data such as the fields seen on the field survey form (e.g. habitat, land use, threats, occurrence condition and rank, etc.).
  3. Metadata should accompany the spatial information with pertinent information on the format of the data, why the data were collected, how they were collected, dates of field surveys, etc. For detail on how to create metadata, refer to the BIOS metadata page.

Tabular Lists of Coordinate data

We will map these but prefer to also receive attribute data on each site beyond just the location. Tabular data must at a minimum include name of species observed, observer name, date of fieldwork and Datum used. In order to minimize transcription errors it is best to send us lists of coordinates in digital format such as Excel or dBase IV in addition to the paper copy. Otherwise we have to type or scan them in, both of which can result in typos and lengthen the time to process the data.

Herbarium or Museum Data

We welcome lists of collection data from museums and herbaria. Museum data frequently make up the bulk of new rare species' datasets; later, these data are refined by fieldworkers. These data may be submitted in almost any way convenient to the institution. Often it is available on the Internet and we access it ourselves; other times it is sent as output from a local database.


Reports are gleaned for occurrence information on special status taxa. However, this work is time-consuming and occasionally less rewarding than we would like. To help us process reports efficiently, we request report preparers use CNDDB Occurrence Numbers as seen in all RareFind output. In general, referencing CNDDB Occurrence Numbers is a helpful practice for field survey forms and any other format where the reporter is submitting data on known sites.

For Revisits; using annotated printouts

For simple text-only updates (i.e. the mapped location at the CNDDB does not need updating), you can annotate a copy of a RareFind full report and submit that, or simply send the information in an email, complete with species name and occurrence number, to the CNDDB. This can save the time to complete an entire new field survey form. You can also annotate copies of your own previously completed field survey forms and send those in if you prefer.