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Habitat Tracking and Reporting (HabiTrak) - About

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As part of the planning process under the Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) program, local agencies are required to prepare habitat conservation plans in order to obtain implementing agreements with the wildlife agencies. The implementing agreements entitle agencies to have and administer state and federal permit authority for development that would impact threatened and endangered species.

The implementing agreements require that local agencies prepare annual reports that track habitat loss and conservation associated with public and private developments projects. The annual reports are used to demonstrate that habitat loss is occurring in rough proportionality with development, to ensure that the habitat preserve is being assembled as agreed to in the implementing agreements, and to make certain that the habitat conservation goals are being achieved.

HabiTrak is a set of tools developed cooperatively by the wildlife agencies (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service), local jurisdictions, special districts, and the San Diego Association of Governments to meet the annual habitat tracking and reporting requirements of the wildlife agencies. The reports are used to gauge how individual habitat conservation plans are being implemented and if the conservation goals are being achieved.

Habitat tracking consists of tracking habitats lost and conserved over time due to public and private development projects. Habitat conservation can occur through a number of methods (acquisition, dedications, easements, exactions, etc.) and is generally located in the habitat preserve planning area. Habitat losses are those areas that are lost to development, and generally occur outside of the habitat preserve planning area.

HabiTrak provides a standardized process for tracking and reporting on habitats conserved and lost over time. This makes it easier for individual agencies to comply with their requirements, as well as guaranteeing data compatibility throughout the state.


HabiTrak consists of two components:

  • Data Input by local agencies utilizing a desktop ArcGIS extension
  • Online Reporting and Mapping tools provided at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

On an annual basis, each agency enters their habitat tracking data into ArcGIS locally using the HabiTrak extension. Through the extension, they then upload their data to CDFW, where they are processed for the report generation. Once the data are processed, reports can be generated using the CDFW HabiTrak web-based reporting interface.

When an agency has indicated that their data are final, they are aggregated into the statewide pool of habitat tracking data, and made available to the public through the online map viewer. The wildlife agencies also use the aggregated data for county or statewide reporting needs.


HabiTrak was initially developed in 1999 as a stand-alone desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) data entry and reporting application using ESRI ArcView 3.x. It was redeveloped in 2006 as both a desktop data entry extension for the newer ESRI ArcGIS 9.1 and a set of centralized web-based reporting and map tools.

HabiTrak was first used by the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego to prepare their subarea habitat tracking reports for 1999, and has been gaining use across the region and the state as additional NCCPs get approved.


GIS Specialist, Conservation Planning
(916) 376-8696
Department of Fish and Wildlife Website San Diego Association of Governments Website US Fish and Wildlife Service Website