iMap, You Map: Citizen Scientists Discover and Track Invasive Species
Do you know where to find up-to-date maps of invasive species sweeping across New York State? Have you seen a new infestation but don’t know where to report it? If you’re looking to join the statewide group of students, teachers, public and private institutions responding to and reporting new threats, join Cornell Cooperative Extension’s iMap Invasive mapping workshop on October 18th. Participants will learn how to report findings using a free, online, user-friendly, mapping program.
iMapInvasives (iMap) New York is the complete invasive species database for the state. iMapInvasives.org offers downloadable public maps which serve as an important tool for land managers, conservation agencies, and municipalities. However, training is required to enter data into the program. With iMap, local groups and citizen scientists can plot, inventory and track the spread of a particular species, like Eurasian watermilfoil or the Asian clam. This data can be used to build maps, and analyze the spread of a species. iMap can also be applied in schools; teachers utilizing GIS in senior projects and high school science clubs may be interested in combining this community service with math and geoscience classes.
In early July 2012, Asian clam shells were spotted in Turtle Bay of Otisco Lake by an Otisco Lake Preservation Association member. The alert went to CCE Onondaga, and the presence of Asian clam was later confirmed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Using the iMapInvasives program, a report and map of the exact locations was made to alert the general public and initiate a regional action plan. In early September, Cayuga County Planning Department and Onondaga County Department of Health investigated further and found live clams in two areas of Otisco Lake, confirming that thriving colonies of the aquatic invader are polluting another Finger Lake. With Asian clams now occupying lakes to the East and West of Skaneateles, rapid reporting is the best means we have to prevent, contain and respond to this new threat.
On October 18th, CCE will teach anyone with basic computer skills how to use iMap to report new finds. New entries will directly communicate field observations to the NYSDEC and New York Natural Heritage Program. During this workshop, learn new identifying traits and desired habitat of common invasive plants and animals, like the Asian clam, hydrilla, feral swine, giant hogweed and emerald ash borer. Participants will become registered users of the iMap database, with the skills necessary to collect information and pictures of invasive pests and enter data, displayed as interactive maps to the public. Alerts can be created and e-mail lists inform users of species’ spreading patterns and new locations.
The iMapInvasive Mapping Workshop will be held on October 18th 7:00 at 8:30pm at the Baldwinsville Public Library on 33 East Genesee Street, and is open to interested individuals of all ages. Registration is required and space is limited. For more information and to register, call 315-424-9485 ext. 232. Details are available on our Skaneateles Lake Watershed website: http://watershed.extendonondaga.org/; please visit this link to sign up for our Wave Review e-newsletter.
Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal opportunity programs and employment. For special assistance please contact our office at 315-424-9485.
Funding for Cornell Cooperative Extension programs in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed is provided by the City of Syracuse Department of Water.