Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Invasive Species Week: Help Stop Aquatic Invasive Species By Using PA Sea Grant's Reporting App

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s economy, freshwater resources, and native aquatic species.
Pennsylvania Sea Grant can now say, ‘there’s an app for that’ with the launch of “PA AIS,” a new, easy-to-use smart phone application.

The “PA AIS” app is now available in the Apple App Store, with an Android version anticipated.

Users can identify AIS and submit a report to the state AIS coordinator, including the location, severity, and photos of the suspected infestation. Illustrations help users learn more about each species to ensure accurate identification in the field.

The “PA AIS” app can be used in airplane mode or in areas outside of coverage, making it ideal for use in the field.

Prevention tips help educate freshwater enthusiasts such as anglers and boaters about the steps they can take to properly clean gear and ensure that AIS are not transported from one water body to another.

Nearly every watershed in Pennsylvania hosts some type of AIS, which includes algae, plants, fish, invertebrates, pathogens and reptiles. These species are often unknowingly spread from one water body to another via boating or fishing gear, or through the release of aquatic pets that are no longer wanted or suitable for indoor conditions.

Once reestablished, AIS can be nearly impossible to eradicate, and control can take an extraordinary amount of time, money, and valuable resources.

“The new app makes it easy for conservation districts, universities, environmental and watershed groups, and individuals to identify AIS in real-time,” said Sara Stahlman, extension leader for PA Sea Grant. “This will take early detection of invasive species to a new level, allowing resource managers in Pennsylvania to easily receive new reports and get a oneup on developing possible rapid response actions.”

Pennsylvania Sea Grant has developed AIS identification and prevention materials, trained resources managers on identification, prevention, and rapid response actions.

The “PA AIS” app is a follow-up to the “Pennsylvania Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species,” a printed resource developed to assist natural resource agency staff identify AIS in the field.

“The print version of the AIS field guide has been wildly successful, with two revisions and several mass printings in just seven years,” said Stahlman. “The app includes all the of the information of the 150-page guide, accessible on your phone at any time.”

A downloadable version of the print field guide, species-specific fact sheets, prevention tools and printable posters, and many other AIS educational resources are available online at the Pennsylvania Sea Grant website.

The “PA AIS” app was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources, and is administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Behrend.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and educational resources, visit the Pennsylvania Sea Grant website.

Resource Links:

-- Governor’s Invasive Species Council - Management Plan

-- Pennsylvania iMapInvasives

-- DCNR:  Invasive Plants In Pennsylvania 

-- Agriculture:  Noxious, Invasive and Poisonous Plant Program 

-- Fish & Boat Commission: Aquatic Invasive Species

-- Fish & Boat Commission - Clean Your Gear To Reduce The Spread Of Invasives

-- PA Sea Grant: Aquatic Invasive Species Resources

-- National Invasive Species Awareness Week - Feb. 22-28


Bradford Era: National Invasive Species Awareness Week - Spotted Lanternfly

Related Articles:

-- Invasive Species Week: DCNR Blog: Newly Emerging Invasives In PA - Have You Seen These Plants?

-- Invasive Species Week: DCNR Blog: A Little Help From Our Little Friends - Spotted Knapweed Biocontrol

-- PA Lake Erie Virtual Environmental Forum Set For March 23

-- PA Sea Grant Hosts 4-Part Webinar Series On Bluff Recession Research & Science For PA Portion Of Lake Erie Shoreline

[Posted: February 23, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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