“Our state’s natural habitat and outdoor recreation destinations are part of what makes living in Washington so unique,” says Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
There has been rising awareness of invasive species within the borders of Washington State. February the 24th - 28th was even proclaimed Invasive Species Awareness Week.
The public has an active role in the battle against invasive species
Residents and visitors have been able to report sightings of invasive plants and animals for some time on the website for the Washington Invasive Species Council. Now, a new app has released to make this process easier and more streamlined for you.
According to the apps page, the goal is to allow you to "...submit invasive species sighting reports directly with your mobile device where they occur." These are then sent to experts and Council staff to be reviewed. Once approved, sightings are viewable on a map tool within the app. This should work similarly to map apps you may have used for driving.
The new app will use GPS and it's own photo tool to allow you to easily report a sighting and capture an image to send with your report. This will also include your location data (assuming you've allowed access) to report exactly where the sighting occurred.
What about those places with no cell phone reception?
If you don't have access to your data at a given moment, don't worry. You should be able to go ahead and report just as normal. Once you've gotten back into network range or wi-fi, the report will upload automatically.
You can navigate through the app to easily learn about invasive species within Washington's database. This is easy to learn and includes all of the Council's priority plant and animal species.
With dynamic mapping and location access, you can easily view all reports near your area. This should certainly keep you from posting the same report a thousand times. We've certainly never done anything like that. Usefully, you will be able to tell if a species has already been reported, and whether or not you should report any growth or movement.
The Washington Invasive Species Council was established in 2006 through legislative means. Its purpose is to provide direction and planning and to coordinate efforts in combating invasive species throughout Washington State and help prevent the introduction of others that may potentially harm the environment or ecosystem.
The executive coordinator of WISC, Justin Bush stresses the importance of making these reports “Whether reporting a strange fish you reel in, a plant you spot while hiking or mysterious damage in your flower bed,...". It is key for an invasive species to be reported as quickly as possible so that they can be contained and stopped. That is the goal of the app.
How do invasive species get introduced into foreign areas?
These species can be introduced into the environment through a growing number of means, from streams and wind to just people that visit the state. It's our job as a community to make sure that these species are known as quickly as possible. These species can be a threat to a vibrant culture and ecosystem. They pose a risk to native plants and animals. To cities that are affected by new pests, or groups of animals having to move further inward. There's no denying that leaving this issue poses a threat to the balance of Washington as a whole. Now, you can be a part of the solution from wherever you are, with just a few taps.
So, whether your goal is to live in harmony with nature, or just to keep it off of your doorstep while you're watching TV and reading the daily sport's page, take a few taps out of your life to work toward that goal with your community.