Friday, August 21, 2015

Invasive species app developed

Alaskans may identify invasive weeds using a free new app.

Gino Graziano of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service worked with the University of Georgia to develop the Alaska Weeds Identification app.

Graziano, an invasive plants instructor, said the app will make it easier for people to identify invasive weeds and to report them if they are unsure about the identification or are concerned about the presence of invasive weeds on their property or public lands. The app provides photographs, descriptions of the plants by type or region and management practices.

People who wish to send a report with an attached photo sign into a University of Georgia database on the app. That  information, which provides GPS coordinates, gets routed to Graziano, who either responds or forwards the report to other pest management experts or public land managers.

Invasive weeds are non-native plants that may cause harm to ecosystems, agriculture and the economy. Graziano said the hope is the citizens will help identify invasive weeds before they get a foothold in a new area. Citizen reports have resulted in the eradication of purple loosestrife in Southcentral and management of giant hawkweed in Kake.

The app may be downloaded from the Apple store for IOS mobile devices, including  iPhones, but an Android version will be available in a few weeks.

The Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative supported the creation of the app with funding from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information, contact Graziano at or 907-786-6315.

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