|A GPS being used to mark the spot for|
invasive Chinese tallow trees. You can
participate and help locate and map
invasive species populations.
Invasive species in Florida are a huge problem. Most of us know this, right? Until now there wasn’t much we could do to help document the occurrences of invasive species that we see all the time in parks, right-of-ways, conservation areas and other public and private lands. Now we can use EDDMapS to quickly and easily document invasive species occurrences!
What is EDDMapS? It’s a web-based system developed by the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. It allows citizens to systematically document invasive species distribution throughout the southeastern US. A partnership of Florida agencies and NGOs/Non-profit groups have recently started promoting it through their, “I’ve Got 1” web address (www.IveGot1.org) and phone hotline (1-888-Ive-Got1). There is even an IveGot1 iPhone app available!
It’s like unleashing a citizen army against the onslaught of invasive species! The tables have turned on the Climbing Ferns and Brazilian Peppers. They have no place to hide, except for private lands. However, you can report to EDDMapS with private landowner permission.
EDDMapS even has a quality control system where each county has a volunteer EDDMapS verifier who reviews submissions and validates adequately documented submissions or requests additional documentation. Validated data is given to FNAI and FWC invasive control authorities.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get out there. It’s easy to learn how to use EDDMapS. Most people can probably use it with little or no training. There are plenty of training and tools available on the website. It helps to have a Global Positioning System unit, but one is not required. Most smart phones have GPS location standard features available.
Here are several good reasons to get involved:
· Learn to ID invasive plants and sharpen your ID skills
· Documentation can be used to justify a problem
· Help authorities track “leading edge” of invasive outbreaks
· Early detection of new invasive species to Florida
· Helps authorities refine invasive lists and priorities
Pete Johnson, Ixia Chapter Member