‘Wild Spotter’ pilot seeks citizen scientists to track invasive species
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Aug. 14, 2018 – Calling all citizen scientists! Download the free Wild Spotter mobile app and help the USDA Forest Service identify, map, and report invasive species found in your favorite wild places, including the Pacific Northwest’s Siuslaw National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest!
Through a collaboration with more than 20 partners, the University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, and the organization Wildlife Forever, are working with 12 National Forests and Grasslands across the United States as part of a pilot program to gather important data on invasive species and how they are impacting wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and other natural areas.
The Wild Spotter citizen science program provides tools to help locate, quantify, map, and report invasive species infestations in a simple and effective manner, while raising public awareness about invasive species and promoting collaborations across the landscape.
“We are happy to be part of the Wild Spotter program and to offer the public a way to enjoy their national forest while helping us gather information on the locations of invasive species,” Angela Elam, Siuslaw National Forest forest supervisor, said.
There are 15 invasive species identified on the Siuslaw National forest in the Wild Spotter app, and 54 identified invasive species for the Wallowa-Whitman forest.
Once a Wild Spotter volunteer identifies and reports a species, the data is verified by experts and then made publicly available through a networked invasive species inventory database hosted by the University of Georgia.
The database will be the first nationwide inventory of invasive species in America’s natural areas.
“Invasive plants, pathogens, and animals can threaten recreational activities, productivity, and ecosystem health. This tool will help the forest to implement better strategies for prevention, control, and eradication,” Elam said.
The Wild Spotter app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and can be used even from locations where a cell phone signal is not available.
For more information, visit www.wildspotter.org.
Source information: Siuslaw National Forest staff