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North Dakota GAP Analysis Project

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What is GAP?

The National Gap Analysis Program (GAP) is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Discipline. The goal of GAP is to prevent conservation crises by providing national assessments of animals and their habitats and to facilitate the application of this information to land management activities. Gap analysis is a method for identifying the degree to which native animal species and natural plant communities are represented in our present-day mix of conservation lands. Those species and communities not adequately represented in the existing network of conservation lands constitute conservation "gaps."

Why GAP?

The conservation of biodiversity is a huge challenge both scientifically and socially. Gap analysis originated from the realization that waiting until species are threatened or endangered to protect them is neither an effective nor efficient means of biodiversity conservation. Such an approach ignores the principal reason for the loss of biodiversity, i.e., the continual loss and fragmentation of natural landscapes and disruption of natural ecological processes. A strategy for conservation of biodiversity requires decisions of what is to be sustained, at what level, for how long, by whom, and for whom. The geospatial datasets created by GAP provide an excellent starting point for land managers, planners, scientists, and policy makers to develop proactive habitat-based conservation plans that might preclude the need to list species as endangered or threatened. Before biodiversity conservation strategies can succeed, clear quantifiable objectives must be defined and evaluation methods developed.

The Gap Analysis Program Mission

The mission of GAP is to provide national assessments of the conservation status of native vertebrate species and natural land cover types and to facilitate the application of this information to land management activities. This is accomplished through the following five objectives:

  1. map the actual land cover of the United States
  2. map predicted distributions of vertebrate species for the U.S.
  3. document the representation of vertebrate species and land cover types on public lands and lands managed for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity
  4. provide this information to the public and those entities charged with land use research, policy, planning, and management
  5. build institutional cooperation in the application of this information to state and regional management activities.

GAP is conducted as state-level projects. The North Dakota Gap Analysis Project (ND-GAP) is a cooperative effort led by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in cooperation with more than 30 federal, state, Native American, and private conservation organizations in North Dakota.

North Dakota GAP Final Report

Three versions of the ND-GAP Final Report are available for viewing or download: the complete Final Report, the Final Report without appendices, and appendices only. These files are offered in PDF format and require a PDF reader (download free reader).

Viewing/Downloading Instructions:

Clicking the links below will launch the files for viewing within a web browser or PDF reader. To download and save the selected file using Windows: Right-click, and select "Save Target As…" or "Save Link As…". For Mac: Control-click, and select "Save Link As…".

North Dakota GAP Analysis Project GIS Data

The final report and databases created by the ND-GAP are available on CD. The geospatial data created by the ND-GAP may be successfully used with ESRI ArcGIS 8.x or other geographic information system software that can import ESRI file formats. The land cover and vertebrate species predicted habitats are in ArcGIS GRID format. All other GIS data are in ArcGIS vector format. See the readme file below for more information about computer and software requirements for working with the ND-GAP geospatial data.

To Request a ND-GAP CD:

Please submit a written request via email with the subject line: "ND-GAP CD Request" to

Or, mail a request to:

USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
c/o Larry Strong, NDGAP
8711 37th Street SE,
Jamestown, ND 58401

(Please include your affilitation and intended use of the data with your request.)

The North Dakota GAP Analysis Project thanks the following cooperators for their assistance with the project:

  • The Audubon Society
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Iowa Gap Analysis Project
  • Kansas Gap Analysis Project
  • Minot State University
  • National GAP Program
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • NatureServe
  • Nebraska Gap Analysis Project
  • North Dakota Forest Service
  • North Dakota Geological Survey
  • North Dakota Information Technology Department
  • North Dakota Natural Heritage Program
  • North Dakota State Land Department
  • North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation
  • North Dakota Game and Fish Department
  • North Dakota State University
  • North Dakota State Water Commission
  • Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
  • South Dakota Gap Analysis Project
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Teddy Roosevelt National Park
  • Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara)
  • University of North Dakota
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • USDA Farm Services Administration
  • USDA Forest Service
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • USDI Bureau of Land Management
  • USDI Bureau of Reclamation
  • USDI National Park Service
  • USDI U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • USDI U.S. Geological Survey
  • Wildlife Spatial Analysis Lab, University of Montana
National GAP Program U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation U.S. Forest Service N.D. Game & Fish Department
U.S. Geological Survey North Dakota State University University of North Dakota Minot State University

This resource should be cited as:

Strong, Laurence L., H. Thomas Sklebar, and Kevin E. Kermes.  2005.  North Dakota GAP analysis project.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  (Version 12JUN2006).

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