Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Mapping Invasives is Important

For the past year and a half, the Oregon Invasive Species Council has been working toward providing Oregon with a new database system that will help organizations and individuals track locations and management actions of invasive species. It hasn't been an easy road to where we are today, as a survey we conducted in 2009 revealed that Oregonians are using at least 53 different systems to track invasives -- and most of these systems are not talking to one another. After a great deal of work, we settled on iMapInvasives and USGS NAS as the two systems that can currently meet most of the needs of Oregonians (although we're still working on the marine invertebrate end of things).

Our ultimate goal is for the majority of people in Oregon to share their invasive species data with iMap so that we have a productive, online, GIS-based, all-taxa invasive species mapping tool that land managers, regional planners, and others involved in preventing, controlling, or managing invasive species can access. Why is this so important?

We know that early detection and rapid response is the most cost-effective way of managing invasive species. If we find a new invader early, we can respond quickly to eradicate and eliminate the species. The end result of this approach is minimal dollars and effort spent to manage an invasive, and less chemical introduced in the environment. It's a win-win for Oregon's economy and our pristine native fish and wildlife habitats.

The Oregon Biodiversity Information Center at Portland State University will be housing iMapInvasives for the State of Oregon. This organization has decades of experience managing information about Oregon's flora and fauna, both native and non-native.

Stay tuned for the upcoming launch of iMapInvasives in Oregon. You'll be able to input your data, access other data, learn about the effectiveness of certain types of treatments, etc. We'll have some bumps along the road as we implement iMapInvasives, and the system will certainly morph as our invasive species database needs change. But it's a system that's here for the long haul, and we're going along for the ride.

Lisa DeBruyckere, Oregon Invasive Species Council

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